Combs sentenced to 18 years

Jerry Combs was sentenced to 28 years in prison for the fatal stabbing of Eric Tysen Fugate of Hindman. Fugate’s mother, Jennifer Fugate Lawson (pictured left), gave a statement at the sentencing. (Photo by Sharon K. Hall)

By SHARON K. HALL

A mother’s words reached out Thursday to seek justice for her son, who died in a January 2013 stabbing in Triplett Branch in Mousie. “I want to express my feelings to the court,” voiced Jennifer Fugate Lawson, whose 30-year-old son, Eric Tysen Fugate, of Hindman, was found slain near a surface mine road. Lawson fought back tears as she described her close relationship to her only son.

“Eric was not only my child, he was my life,” began Lawson. “As a boy he loved to fix his broken toys.” She said he kept that same philosophy throughout his life of wanting to fix what was broken.

The devastated mother continued, “He loved his job and his co-workers. He had ambition and he strived to work up to the top. He had a gentle demeanor and compassion… Eric and I spent years together and we were there for each other. But he is gone and he can’t fix my broken heart.”

The plea for justice by Fugate’s mother was answered November 14 when the Knott County Circuit Judge Kim Childers sentenced Fugate to 18 years in prison on a manslaughter charge.

As the grief stricken mother tried to find closure, she relayed, “I pray God will guide me through the days ahead.”

Prosecutors initially charged the 35-year-old Wayland man with first-degree murder for the stabbing death of Fugate. The charges were reduced in a November 4 plea deal.

The convicted killer was given credit for time served in the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard where he was held since his arrest January 18.

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