Former Memorial Stadium announcer Patrick Combs is convicted on 3 of 4 felony counts

Former Memorial Stadium announcer Patrick Combs is convicted on 3 of 4 felony counts
Patrick Combs

LINCOLN — Patrick Combs, a game-day announcer at Memorial Stadium for more than a decade, was convicted Thursday on three felony counts related to theft from the estate of a family friend.

A jury of seven men and five women declared the verdicts after roughly five hours of deliberations. Combs declined comment as he walked out of the courtroom holding hands with his wife. His lawyer, Robert Creager of Lincoln, said a statement may be released later.

The 52-year-old Gretna businessman remains free on bail pending his May 14 sentencing, at which time he will face a penalty ranging from probation to a possible 30 years in prison.

Jurors found Combs guilty of abuse of a vulnerable adult, theft and attempted theft. They acquitted him of unauthorized use of a credit card.

Lancaster County District Judge Robert Otte accepted the verdicts and ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

“I think the jury worked hard,” said Lancaster County Attorney Pat Condon. “We’re happy with this decision.”

It marked with second time Combs went to trial on the same felony charges. The first jury, in 2016, deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial.

Later, Combs’ attorney learned the jurors at the first trial were unanimous in their agreement to acquit Combs of theft, attempted theft and abuse of a vulnerable adult — the same counts he now stands guilty of. Eleven of the 12 jurors in the first trial also thought Combs was not guilty of misusing the victim’s credit card.

Jurors in the second trial got the case late Wednesday after six days of testimony.

Prosecutor Morgan Smith said in closing arguments Wednesday that there was no question that Combs was a close friend of Beverly Mosher and her late husband, Harold Mosher. But he took advantage of his status as the “son” the now-deceased Lincoln couple never had, Smith said.

Combs testified that he knew the Moshers since childhood and considered them his second parents. He did chores and other favors for them, and they showered him with gifts, paying for his college education, trips abroad and his wedding.

Harold Mosher was a retired assistant attorney general, and Beverly Mosher was a former adviser for the teacher college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In separate wills executed in 2004, they listed Combs along with at least eight other beneficiaries.

Harold Mosher died in 2014, and all of the couple’s assets transferred to Beverly, who moved to a residential Alzheimer’s care facility. By then, Combs had power of attorney to help her with her affairs. A new will dated in 2014 eliminated all beneficiaries except for Combs.

Beverly Mosher died in 2015 at the age of 88.

Doctors and caregivers who testified for the prosecution said Beverly Mosher no longer had the cognitive capacity to understand what she was signing when the final will was completed. The prosecution agreed that Combs cared about the Moshers but said he still violated their trust.

Combs disagreed with the characterization of Beverly Mosher as incapable of knowing what she wanted done with her estate. While her memory was impaired, she always knew him, his wife, Laura, and their two children when they made frequent visits.

In addition, Combs said Harold Mosher had wanted Combs to start enjoying his inheritance money before the couple died to avoid a steep tax on nonrelative heirs. That’s why he spent some of the money before Beverly Mosher’s death and used a credit card to pay for some personal necessities.

“There is no case” against Combs, his lawyer said in closing arguments.

Combs, a two-time Democratic congressional candidate, worked as the public address announcer at Memorial Stadium for more than a decade. His contract with the University of Nebraska expired in 2015 just days before his arrest.

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