A crime spree that started with an alleged burglary, ended in the stabbing death of 25-year-old Justin Combs on June 15, 2006.

Justin Combs and his girlfriend, Leanna Campbell, had been sought by now-convicted killers Ryan Sweat, Malik Hawkins and Gilbert Hawkins most of that day. The night before the stabbing, Justin and Leanna were accused of breaking into the home of Ryan Sweat’s mother-in-law and allegedly stealing drugs and money, according to police files.

Early in the day, Ryan, Malik and Gilbert began looking for Justin and Leanna, reportedly with the intent to kill them. When Justin heard that the men were looking for him, he called Ryan and told him it had not been him that broke into the house, but instead it was Darrell Allen, the boyfriend of Leanna’s sister, Stacie Lawell. In the process of trying to clear their names and protect Stacie’s sister, the two were taken against their will and told to help find Justin and Leanna.

“They took me in there, held a gun on me, stuck a knife to my old lady’s throat, said our kids was gonna be orphans this day if we didn’t find her sister,” Darrell said in a witness interview.

The three men burglarized two homes — Leanna’s father, Tom Campbell’s house and the home of Ray Creech — before they finally found Justin walking to his car near the intersection of Moberly Avenue and Jones Court. There, Justin suffered three stab wounds before police found him. Justin was transferred to University of Kentucky Medical Center, where he died two days later.

Kelly Foreman can be reached at kforeman@richmondregister.com

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