Trial Starts For Newlywed Accused Of Slipping Husband Drugs

DELAWARE, Ohio (AP) - A woman on trial on charges of attempting to kill her husband by lacing his soft drinks with drugs made up the story to cover up his drug use, her defense attorneys said.

Christina Combs' husband, David, urged her to tell police she twice slipped him methamphetamine, defense attorney O. Ross Long said Monday during opening statements to a Delaware County Common Pleas jury.

She is charged with attempted aggravated murder and contaminating a substance for human consumption.

Prosecutors said Combs, 29, was bent on killing her husband to collect his $250,000 military life insurance so she could return to her boyfriend in California.

"Christina Combs is just like a black widow spider," Assistant Prosecutor Dane Gaschen told jurors. He didn't elaborate on the alleged extramarital affair.

The newlyweds arrived in Columbus five months ago from San Diego, Calif., to visit relatives. They were on their way to Cleveland for his new recruiting assignment with the Marines.

David Combs, 26, became ill twice over two days last April and was hospitalized for overdoses of methamphetamine, a synthetic form of speed.

He uses drugs and feared that if the Marines found out he would be dishonorably discharged, Long said. And Mrs. Combs, who is Vietnamese, agreed to lie because her cultural heritage requires women to support their husbands.

"That was the cover story," Long said. "He knew his career was cooked" if his superiors saw the hospital reports.

Mrs. Combs admitted to Columbus police detectives that she tried to kill her husband. She was arrested at the hospital during her husband's second hospitalization. She has since recanted.

She remains in custody in lieu of $500,000 bail.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)