UPDATE | SC Rep. Chris Corley indicted on domestic violence, gun charges

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Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017

South Carolina State Representative Chris Corley

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A grand jury returned multiple indictments against State Representative Chris Corley on Wednesday.

He was charged with one count of domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature and one count of pointing a presenting a firearm.

“Pursuant to state law, he has been suspended effective immediately from the South Carolina House of Representatives,” Speaker of the House, Jay Lucas, said Wednesday.

According to the South Carolina Attorney General's office, the indictment accuses Corley of causing physical harm to his wife in the presence of minors with a gun.

If convicted, Corley could face up to 20 years in prison for the domestic violence charge, and up to five years and a fine for the weapons charge.

The case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.




Friday, Dec. 30, 2016

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- We're getting our first listen at the 911 tapes in the investigation into alleged domestic violence involving a SC representative.

We want to warn you, listening to these tapes are tough.

Our newsroom debated whether to air these tapes since claims of domestic violence and kids are involved.
But, we weighed how this would advance the story and felt since domestic violence is often kept in the shadows. This shows the reality of what families can face daily.
Chris Corley is also an elected official.

You can't see much from the dark video but it's the chaos of the inaudible that speaks volumes.

"What kind of weapon is this guy supposed to be armed with - long gun, handgun?"
"They just said gun, not sure what it is."

Deputies dispatched to the scene of a domestic violence call would soon learn South Carolina Representative Chris Corley was the subject.

"Suicidal subject possibly armed with a handgun."
"My understanding is it's a domestic related situation, and he was going to get the gun."

The first calls came in to the City of Aiken Department of Public Safety...

"Stop it! - Aiken City 911, what is your emergency? Stop...just stop. 11 Aiken City 911."

Those on the other line failed to respond, but with more shouts dispatchers sent deputies over to the house.

Investigators said Corley and his wife got into an argument which turned physical. He allegedly hit his wife, pointed a gun at her and then, himself.

"I had a caller that sounded like children are screaming for help."

An incident report details Corley's wife running across the street to her mother's house for help. It was there another call went out.

"His wife, didn't he beat you? He beat his wife, and he's threatening to kill himself."

Around 1 a.m. on Tuesday, Corley was booked into the Aiken County Detention Center. He later bonded out.

Corley could face a grand jury as early as next week.



Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016 News 12 First at Five

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The next time the South Carolina House of Representatives is in session, one area of Aiken County could be completely unrepresented.

"That's kind of disappointing I mean now our voice is gone and we don't have one now, so what matters to us isn't going to be voiced, isn't going to be shown," Jeff Smith said, who lives in Graniteville.

A feeling several in the Graniteville area have as Representative Chris Corley's attendance when the house starts up again in January is in question, after he allegedly hit his wife during an argument and pointed a gun at her and himself.

"You put your faith in him and again he ran uncontested and you hope that somebody that gets put in that position would hold their self to a higher standard and hope that they're doing their job right and doing everything right," Smith said.

Corley faces the possibility of being suspended indefinitely if he is indicted on these charges.

In a statement Speaker of the House Jay Lucas's office said, "Speaker Lucas has been notified of the criminal charges pending against Representative Chris Corley and will continue to monitor the situation. If and when an indictment is issued, the Speaker will take the necessary action to comply with the law and maintain the dignity of the House of Representatives. Because the matter is still under investigation, further inquiries should be directed to the Second Circuit Solicitor's Office."

An indefinite suspension for Corley means no one else will take his seat and therefore his district that covers Graniteville and the Valley could have no representation.

"As far as us right now, I guess we're screwed until then," Smith said.

If Corley is suspended one way he could be replaced is if he resigns, but Smith is not ready to call for his resignation.

"There's always three sides to every story, his side, her side and the truth, so you got to cut through everything and figure out what exactly happened," he said.

Corley could also be expelled by the House, which is more likely to happen if he pleads guilty or is convicted of his charges. He could face a grand jury as early as the first week of January.


News 12 NBC 26 / Tuesday, December 27, 2016

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A South Carolina state Representative is out of jail after being arrested on domestic violence charges, accused of beating his wife in front of a young child.

An Aiken County judge granted Rep. Chris Corley a 10,000 dollar bond for each felony charge, one for domestic violence and one for pointing a gun at someone.

Corley has been sitting in the Aiken County Detention Center since about 1 a.m. Tuesday morning. Deputies were called to their Graniteville home late Monday night.

You may recognize Rep. Corley as the guy who got into a social media battle with Governor Nikki Haley over keeping the confederate flag on Statehouse grounds or the guy who circulated a controversial Christmas card.

We caught up with Congressman Joe Wilson after he learned of Corley's arrest.

"I just have a high respect for Representative Chris Corley. He's been a very hard-charging member of the state house, but all legal matters would not comment," Wilson said.

According to an Aiken County Sheriff's report, the 36-year-old Republican hit his wife in the head. She told officers he stopped only because he heard kids screaming and saw blood coming from her head.

The report says the woman and children fled to a family member's house across the street after Corley pointed a gun, threatened to kill her, and then threatened to kill himself.

Tuesday afternoon a judge granted the 20,000 dollar bond on the condition that Corley have no contact with his wife, and he cannot have a gun. In court Tuesday afternoon, Corley kept raising his eyebrows, clenching his jaw and looked straight forward the entire time.

Ironically, these are conditions Corley voted on through a bill that made domestic violence penalties stricter. That was from the 2015-2016 legislative session.

"There was an investigation that was initiated and the result is that he was arrested. Everyone's going to be treated the same way," Capt. Eric Abdullah said, Aiken County Sheriff's Office.

That investigation could change his status as the new legislative session starts January 10th. At this point, Corley will attend as normal unless he is indicted on a felony charge. If that happens, the Speaker of the House, by law, has to suspend him.

House Speaker Jay Lucas promised in a statement to take action to maintain the dignity of the house if Corley is indicted. His next cout appearance is February 10th at 9 a.m.
“Speaker Lucas has been notified of the criminal charges pending against Representative Chris Corley and will continue to monitor the situation. If and when an indictment is issued, the Speaker will take the necessary action to comply with the law and maintain the dignity of the House of Representatives. Because the matter is still under investigation, further inquiries should be directed to the Second Circuit Solicitor’s Office.”



Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016 | UPDATE: 5:01 p.m.

GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) – South Carolina State Rep. Chris Corley has bonded out of jail.

Corley is accused of domestic violence and gun charges.

4:10 p.m.
Bond was set at 20 thousand dollars for SC State Rep., Chris Corley, who is accused of domestic violence and gun charges.

Corley, 26, represents part of Aiken County. He was booked into the Aiken County Detention Center around 1 a.m. Tuesday and had his bond hearing around 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Corley's bond was set at 10 thousand dollars for each charge: domestic violence and pointing a weapon at someone.

According to the police report, deputies were called to the home off Connector Road around 9 p.m. Monday night. The victim at the scene said that Corley was caught cheating.

She told investigators that Corley hit her in the face with his fist, injuring her. She also stated that Corley said he was going to kill her while children were in the home.

According to state law, Corley could face a fine and up to five years in prison on just the pointing and presenting a firearm charge. First-degree criminal domestic violence carries up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Neither charge has a minimum punishment.

Aiken County court records state Corley could have his first appearance on Feb. 10, 2017 at 9 a.m. His second appearance is set for May 5, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.

11:04 a.m.
A South Carolina State Representative was arrested early Tuesday morning on charges of domestic violence and pointing and presenting a weapon.

36-year-old Chris Corley, who represents part of Aiken County, was booked into the Aiken County Detention Center around 1 a.m. Tuesday.

According to the police report, deputies were called to the home off Connector Road around 9 p.m. Monday night. The victim at the scene said that Corley was caught cheating. She told investigators that Corley hit her in the face with his fist, injuring her. She also stated that Corley said he was going to kill her while children were in the home.

According to the incident report, she said that Corley only stopped hitting her because he heard the children screaming and noticed blood coming from her head. It was then, the woman told investigators, that Corley went out to the car and came back inside pointing a handgun at her and telling her he was going to kill himself. Corley then went into a bedroom.

The woman fled the house with her kids to her mother’s house across the street. When investigators arrived, Corley told them that he and the woman got into a verbal argument because the woman thought he was cheating. Corley told investigators that the woman tried to hit him in his face with his fist, and he pushed her off of him. During the push, Corley told investigators, is when the woman scratched him in the forehead.

Corley was arrested on a domestic violence charge and a charge of pointing and presenting a firearm.

According to state law, Corley could face a fine and up to five years in prison on just the pointing and presenting a firearm charge. First-degree criminal domestic violence carries up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Neither charge has a minimum punishment.

He is currently at the Aiken County Detention Center.

According to the Associated Press, Corley may be best known in the House as a staunch defender of the Confederate flag. After the flag was removed from Statehouse grounds in July 2015, Corley sponsored a bill for a statewide vote on whether to return it that went nowhere.

He also sent a Christmas card with the Confederate flag on it to Republican lawmakers in 2015 after the flag came down suggesting they "ask for forgiveness of all your sins such as betrayal," calling it a joke in his smart-aleck style. Democrats got a card with a photo of his children.

Corley's holiday card started with: "May your Christmas be filled with memories of a happier time when South Carolina's leaders possessed morals, convictions and the principles to stand for what is right."