State won't drop former lawmaker's domestic violence charges
Jul. 27, 2017
AIKEN, S.C. (AP) — The state attorney general's office is still prosecuting a former South Carolina legislator accused of beating his wife bloody, despite her request to drop the charges.
Former Rep. Chris Corley faces a felony aggravated domestic violence charge that could send him to prison for up to 20 years. Corley is also accused of pointing a gun at his wife last December as two of their three children screamed for him to stop. That charge is punishable by five years in prison.
The attorney general's spokesman, Robert Kittle, told The Aiken Standard on Thursday that Corley's wife wanted the charges to at least be reduced to third-degree domestic violence. She asked that he be accepted into pre-trial intervention, a diversionary program that involves community service and allows the participant's record to be cleared.
Corley's wife filed the affidavit and request earlier this month.
"I wish to have these charges dismissed because it is in the best interest of my children and myself," the request read.
But prosecutors say the allegations are too serious to drop or reduce, Kittle said.
Corley, a 36-year-old Graniteville Republican, resigned from the state House in January, rather than face expulsion by his colleagues. House Speaker Jay Lucas was preparing to introduce legislation forcing Corley from the Aiken County seat he first won in 2014.
Legislators increasingly called on Corley to resign after hearing the 911 call Corley's wife made the day after Christmas.
"Please stop" can be heard repeatedly in the recording released by the Aiken County Sheriff's Office. "Just stop daddy. Just stop. ... Daddy, why are you doing this?" their children say.
In court earlier this year, prosecutors said Corley threw his wife on their bed and began hitting her in the head, once even biting her nose as their young children stood in the doorway. Corley took away his wife's cellphone so she couldn't call for help, but she managed to make the 911 call on her Apple Watch, assistant attorney general Kinli Abee said.
Corley's defense attorney did not dispute the account. But attorney John Delgado said the state "exacerbated this situation beyond what Mrs. Corley actually wanted."
Corley's trial is set for Aug. 7.