Judge sentences Lebanon man to life in prison

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LACLEDE COUNTY, Mo. – Court records show a homeless man accused of the death of a Laclede County man has changed his plea to guilty and been sentenced to life without parole.

Dustin Lee Combs, 29, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Mark Pitts in July of 2020. He had also been charged with armed criminal action, and felony stealing in the death. Those charges were dropped.

Combs, who was arrested on July 12, was found driving Pitts’ 1999 Chevy Silverado. He tried to run from deputies but was caught and taken into custody in Washington County.

Deputies checked and found the vehicle was stolen and connected to the Laclede County homicide of Pitts, who was shot at his home in rural Laclede County on July 2, 2020. Investigators say Pitts’ truck, cellphone, and wallet were missing from the crime scene.

Authorities say Pitts’ driver’s license was found in the truck when Combs was arrested.
Police conducted several interviews, all of which led them to a suspect going by the street name “Shadow.”

Further investigation led them to believe Shadow had ties to a jail in Virginia. The Winchester Virginia Police Department confirmed that Combs went by that same street name and matched the description given.

According to Sheriff David Millsap, Combs was supposed to meet up with Pitts in a parking lot the night Pitts was murdered.
Combs also is charged in connection to a cold-case murder in Texas.
Investigators from Texas interviewed Combs in Laclede County in September in the death of Franklin Donald Cox. Combs confessed to the Texas murder.

“Combs is also a suspect in a beating and stabbing of an Arkansas man that occurred a few weeks prior to the murder of Mark Pitts,” Laclede County Sheriff David Millsap said after the Texas charges were filed.

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