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Duo charged with attempted premeditated murder

Justus Harper, 19, faces additional charge of sexual battery

Clay County Sheriff's Office booking photos of Justus Harper and Kenneth McCombs
Clay County Sheriff's Office booking photos of Justus Harper and Kenneth McCombs

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Two Orange Park men identified as suspects in a shots-fired case have been arrested and charged with attempted premeditated murder. 

Justus Harper and Kenneth McCombs, both 19, were arrested and booked into the Clay County jail late Wednesday night. 

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by News4Jax, the men coordinated with each other to carry out an attack on the victim when they knew the victim would be home. Although most of the affidavit was redacted due to an ongoing investigation, it states the men were responsible for seven gunshots that were fired into a home on Tanglewood Boulevard while five people were inside. The shots were fired just before 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

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Due to the redaction in the affidavit, it’s unclear who the intended target was.

The affidavit states that while deputies were searching the neighborhood, they spoke to a witness who provided them with information that was also redacted from the affidavit. 

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The affidavit also states that during the course of the initial investigation, deputies received information from a known associate of McCombs. The information revealed he was trying to leave Clay County, but ran out of gas near the Clay-Duval county line. 

Deputies made contact with McCombs, whom they said was in a Toyota 4-Runner with Harper. Both men agreed to report to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office substation on Blanding Boulevard for questioning. 

What duo said during their questioning with investigators was redacted from the affidavit. Both were later arrested at the substation and charged with attempted premeditated murder. 

While investigating the shot’s fired case, Harper’s name came up as a suspect in sexual battery investigation that began Monday in Fleming Island.

Many details in the alleged sexual battery case were redacted form the affidavit, but News4Jax was able to confirm the alleged victim and Harper knew each other. After undergoing a series of questioning in that investigation, Harper was charged with one count of lewd and lascivious battery on a minor under the age of 16 but older than 12. 

Court documents obtained by News4Jax revealed that both men pleaded no contest to misdemeanor drug charges in late May and adjudication was withheld for both of them. 

Court documents also state that back in January, McCombs pleaded guilty to burglary and criminal mischief, and adjudication was withheld. 

In May of last year, McCombs pleaded no contest to misdemeanor drug charges and adjudication was withheld. 

As of Thursday morning, jail records show, both 19-year-olds remain in the Clay County jail without bond. 


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