Perry County doctor's killer asks for forgiveness

HAZARD, Ky. (WKYT) - He admits he did a terrible thing. Now, an eastern Kentucky man who killed a doctor in his office is asking for forgiveness. On Thursday, a Perry County judge gave John Combs a 40-year prison sentence for the 2009 murder of Dr. Dennis Sandlin. On Friday, Combs gave his first interview since the murder.

"My daddy always taught me to man up and not be a crybaby. Not that I haven't cried about it, but you know, but I'm trying to be a man about it," says Combs.

He tells us he walked into the Leatherwood-Blackey Medical Clinic and shot Dr. Sandlin for not writing him a prescription for pain killers.

"I can't blame it on anyone else," says Combs.

Combs took the 40-year sentence as part of a plea deal to avoid the death penalty. Judge John David Caudill did not allow Combs to speak to Sandlin's family at his sentencing on Thursday.

"I'll take the guilt to my grave, I'll always feel guilty because I took a man's life. And that does bother me, no matter what they give me to deal with it, I'll still have the pain and the guilt and I share the family's pain," says Combs.

He says he's not just asking for forgiveness. He's also learning how to forgive himself.

"I know I hurt a lot of people. And i'm sorry for that. I hurt them and I hurt my family," says Combs.

Combs says he was going through withdrawl symptoms of Xanax at the time of the murder.


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