Not guilty plea in Perry doctor's shooting death

HAZARD — John Carles Combs pleaded not guilty Friday to charges stemming from the shooting death of Dr. Dennis Sandlin.

Combs, 46, of Redfox, was arraigned in Perry Circuit Court Friday morning. Floyd Circuit Judge John D. Caudill, who filled in because Perry's circuit judge knew Sandlin, granted a defense motion to have Combs evaluated for mental competency at the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in La Grange.

Combs was indicted last week on charges of murder, burglary, tampering with evidence and terroristic threatening. His attorneys, Michael Eubanks and Jim Baechtold of Richmond, have said they believe that Combs has been "tried in the media" and that publicity before the trial could be a problem for them.

Police have said Combs went to Sandlin's clinic in southern Perry County on Dec. 8 and became belligerent and threatening when the doctor asked that he take a urine test before being prescribed painkillers. Combs left the clinic, and police said he came back with a gun two hours later and shot Sandlin.

A pre-trial conference was set for June 17.