Man pleads guilty in beating case

ELKINS – A Kenova man pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge as part of a plea agreement Thursday in Randolph County Magistrate Court.

Shade Charles Combs, 21, was arrested on March 25 after he, Clarissa Hope Linger, 19, of Tallmansville and one other individual entered the Hampton Inn hotel in Elkins, and Combs allegedly beat Zachary Elmore.

As part of the agreement, the state dismissed one felony count of burglary and one felony count of conspiracy to commit a felony. A representative from the Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney’s office said Elmore agreed with the sentence.

Combs was sentenced to 20 days in jail in addition to time served, and was fined $500 plus court costs.

According to the criminal complaint, written by Trooper J.R. Wince of the Elkins detachment of the West Virginia State Police, Combs entered the Hampton Inn in Elkins at approximately 1:30 a.m. March 25 “with the intent to inflict bodily harm” to Elmore.

Wince wrote that, at approximately 11 a.m. March 24, Elmore “attended a local party with (Combs) and several other friends,” when he became intoxicated and “got in a verbal altercation with (Linger).” Elmore left the party and went to the Hampton Inn, where he was staying, the complaint states.

Wince wrote that a short while later, Combs, Linger and another individual at the party got into a vehicle and traveled to Hampton Inn, where Combs intended to cause violence against Elmore “for disrespecting his girlfriend.” Wince wrote that Linger convinced Combs “to defend her honor and ‘take care’ of” Elmore.

Wince wrote that he was able to obtain video surveillance footage from inside the Hampton Inn that shows Elmore go upstairs, followed shortly by Combs, Linger and the third person. They attempted to enter the room but failed and Combs went downstairs to speak to the night clerk at the desk. Combs was able to convince the clerk to let him into Elmore’s room, Wince wrote.

According to the complaint, the three entered the room after speaking for a few moments. The third person told police in a statement that he “was only in the room for a short time before leaving” and that Linger did not do anything to Elmore, but the person “left the room understanding (Combs) had the intent to inflict bodily harm” to Elmore, according to the complaint.

Linger and the third person left and headed back to the vehicle and Combs ran back to the car shortly after, the complaint states.

The following morning Elmore woke “to discover he had sustained relatively severe injuries to his head, face and neck areas,” Wince wrote. Elmore said he had no idea how he had sustained the injuries until he called friends and they informed him that Combs “had beat him up while he was passed out,” according to the complaint.

Wince wrote that Elmore’s injuries included “a black eye, a busted lip, several other small cuts and abrasions to his head and face and relatively severe swelling to his head behind his ear” all confined to the left side of his head, face and neck, “which would be consistent with being hit while he was lying on the bed on the right side of his face.”