This Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016 photo provided by the Aiken County Detention Center, S.C., shows South Carolina Rep. Chris Corley, who authorities said attacked his wife in their Graniteville home. He was charged with first-degree domestic violence. (Aiken County Detention Center via AP)
South Carolina state Rep. Chris Corley has been indicted on one count of domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature and one count pointing and presenting a firearm, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.
As a result, he has been suspended from the state legislature, according to the state House Speaker’s Office.
“The Aiken County Grand Jury has indicted Representative Chris Corley on multiple felony charges. Pursuant to state law, he has been suspended effective immediately from the South Carolina House of Representatives,” Speaker Jay Lucas (District 65-Darlington) said in a statement.
The Aiken County Grand Jury returned the indictments Wednesday, according to a news release from the Attorney General’s Office. The indictment accuses Corley of causing physical harm to his wife on Dec. 26 in the presence of minors with a gun.
Domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Pointing and presenting a firearm is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine.
According to a police incident report, an Aiken County sheriff’s deputy arrested Corley on accusations of punching his wife in the face and head and threatening to kill her while pointing a Smith & Wesson handgun at her. The report stated that the incident happened in front of the couple’s 8- and 2-year-old children.
Corley, 36, told the officer that his wife tried to hit him in the face and that he pushed her away.
Corley was first elected to the South Carolina House in 2014, according to previous reports. He was a fierce opponent of the governor’s push to remove the Rebel flag from the state Capitol last year and caused a stir by mailing Christmas cards last year that featured the flag with a caption that read, in part, “happier times when South Carolina’s leaders possessed morals, convictions and the principles to stand up for what is right.”
The flag was removed in response to avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof’s slaying of nine black church members in Charleston.
Bond for Corley was set Dec. 27 at $10,000 on each of the two charges. Conditions of Corley’s bond prohibit him from having any contact with his wife – in person, by email, over the phone or through a third party. He must stay at least 500 feet away from her, the judge ordered.
He also may not possess any firearm. Corley requested and was granted permission to travel to Augusta for work, where he is a lawyer.
Corley’s lawyer told the judge that Corley had never been arrested before, and Capt. Eric Abdullah said the sheriff’s office had no prior calls to the Corley residence.
Upcoming hearings in Corley’s case have been set for Feb. 10 and May 5.
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S.C. Rep. Corley indicted on two felony charges; suspended from legislature