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Former Nebraska stadium announcer loses appeal over vulnerable adult case
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Former Nebraska stadium announcer loses appeal over vulnerable adult case

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The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday rejected an appeal filed by a former Memorial Stadium PA announcer concerning his attorney's failure to appeal his conviction in a theft case.

Patrick Combs lost his bid to gain a new trial in a case in which he was convicted of manipulating an elderly Lincoln woman in order to receive all of her estate.

Combs alleged in his most recent appeal that he and his attorney, Robert Creager of Lincoln, talked about appealing his conviction. However, Lancaster County District Judge Robert Otte and the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that Combs did not clearly indicate that he had made a final decision on whether he wanted Creager to appeal.

Patrick Combs

Patrick Combs

Combs alleged that he dropped off a $5,000 check to Creager's bookkeeper the week the appeal was to be filed. Creager said, however, that he wasn't made aware of that payment.

The high court said the payment could have been construed as payment for legal work already performed. Combs had talked about delivering a $5,000 check to Creager several days before the two had discussed an appeal, the high court said.

"Despite Combs’ assertion to the contrary, the record is not clear that the $5,000 paid by Combs was for payment of an appeal," Chief Justice Mike Heavican wrote.

Combs' first case ended in a mistrial when the jury deadlocked. But a second jury convicted him of abuse of a vulnerable adult and theft.

Court testimony indicated that Combs had spent about $113,000 of Harold and Beverly Mosher's money. When he attempted to transfer the remaining $1.75 million from Beverly Mosher’s estate in late 2014, the transaction was blocked by the bank. Criminal charges were filed after that.

Lancaster County District Judge Robert Otte sentenced Combs to five years of probation and ordered him to pay $45,000 in fines. He also was barred from being a personal representative or having power of attorney for anyone, except close family members.

Combs said that he, his wife and their two children frequently visited Harold and Beverly Mosher, who didn't have any children, and that he considered them a second set of parents. He testified that he did all kinds of work for them, and in return, they had paid for his college education, trips abroad and his wedding.

He maintained that Beverly Mosher was fully capable of deciding what she wanted done with her estate and that her husband, a former assistant Nebraska attorney general, had urged him to start enjoying the money before the couple died to avoid a steep inheritance tax on nonrelative heirs.

A jury convicted Combs despite that testimony.

Combs was a two-time Democratic candidate for Congress, and he co-hosted a talk show on Lincoln radio station KLIN. He worked more than a decade as the PA announcer at Husker football games. His contract was not renewed shortly before his 2015 arrest.

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