The murder trial of a rural Lagrange man is underway in LaGrange Superior Court.
35-year-old Brian Combs is charged with murder. The state dropped additional charges of attempted murder, and aggravated battery earlier.
In an opening statement this morning LaGrange County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Travis Glick told jurors the evidence will show Combs arrived at his home unexpectedly and found Clayton Rust having sex with his girlfriend. Glick said Combs then started a beating that began in the bedroom and continued through the house until he dragged Rust to the front yard.
Rust died days later in a hospital.
Defense Attorney Thomas Leatherman told the jury that Combs and longtime girlfriend Heather Grant had gotten their lives back together and that Combs was quote - “On top of the world.” Combs was scheduled to complete drug rehab the following week.
But when he came home and found Rust and Grant in bed Combs became incensed and reacted according to Leatherman. The defense attorney said he will show Combs acted under sudden heat – a legal concept that prevents premeditation – and that the jury should return a verdict of manslaughter instead.
The jury of twelve and two alternates is made up of nine men and five women.