Murder suspect hopes makeup will hide criminal history from jury

A Spokane murder suspect is hoping a thick layer of make-up will keep his jury in the dark about tattoos that reveal both his criminal history and alleged racist beliefs.

Michael Duke Coombes is accused of shooting a man in the head back in 2007 and is back on trial this week after his original conviction was overturned.

In court Monday prosecutors revealed Coombes has a tattoo of the murder weapon on his hip; they want the jury to see that incriminating tattoo of a revolver with a syringe in the background because detectives say Coombes was proud of the killing and now even has it memorialized on his body

Michael Coombes is suspected of shooting a man in the head up on Beacon Hill back in September of 2007 after the victim, 53-year-old William “Red” Nichols supposedly disrespected Coombes’ nephew.

On Monday Coombes took the stand and told the court he has no recollection of the incident.

“I know I had been up for several days before and I didn’t even know I was in jail ’til about the 8th when I woke up I didn’t know why I was there,” Coombes said.

Coombes, 32, doesn’t want his jury to know that he allegedly admitted the fatal shooting when he was arrested by Spokane Police.

Coombes also doesn’t the jury to know about the tattoos he’s received behind bars. He was serving a 27-year sentence until the court of appeals overturned his conviction last January.

Coombes won his appeal because before he pled guilty he was not told he would not receive any good time the first 20 years of his sentence.

Prosecutors say Coombes recently tattooed A-F on his face for Aryan Family. A different tattoo on his hip depicts a syringe and a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver, the make and model of handgun used to kill Nichols. In court Monday prosecutors argued to be able to share that evidence with the jury as well.

Defense attorneys object to the tattoo because it might reveal that Coombes was already doing time for the murder but recently had the conviction overturned.

Jury selection in this case continues on Tuesday..