Upgraded Domestic Violence charges against State Rep. Chris Corley rare for South Carolina

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AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Suspended South Carolina lawmaker Chris Corley is no longer behind bars.

On Thursday, Corley appeared in bond court at the Aiken County Detention Center.

An Aiken County judge voided his old bond and set a new one for upgraded Domestic Violence charges on Wednesday.

The tougher penalties against the State Representative mark the start of a new day for South Carolina.

Susan Selden, the Executive Director of the Cumbee Center in Aiken, says this is the first time she remembers a person facing increased charges.

Selden says it’s a sign of progress for a state that consistently ranks in the top 10 states for deadly violence against women.

The suspended District 84 Representative is facing Domestic Violence High and Aggravated.

A felony charge that could keep him behind bars for up to 20 years, on top of the 5 years he’s already facing for Pointing a Weapon at his wife.

The Executive Director of the Cumbee Center, a safe haven for victims of Domestic Violence, says Corley’s new charges are just one step below attempted murder.

“So that means the next time that this would happen someone’s life would probably be taken.” Selden told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Selden says that increased charge, indicates the abuser put the victim’s life in extreme danger.

The exact argument used by the General Attorney Prosecutor against Corley, in court on Wednesday, when she asked the judge to void his original bond for lesser charges.

The anti-Domestic Violence advocate says the charges against Corley aren’t commonly used against abusers in South Carolina.

“I rarely see the high and aggravated charge,” Selden told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “I think it’s one we should use more often.”

Moving forward, Selden hopes that when law enforcement officers respond to domestic disputes they look for signs, that could help prosecutors penalize abusers and save the lives of more women.

“That they will look to see if the women is pregnant, will look to see if children are present, will look to see if there are weapons involved.” Selden said. “Will look to see what kind of injuries are present so that they can charge higher charges.”

Corley’s next hearing is in March 3, 2017 at 9 a.m. in Aiken County.

At this time he remains suspended from his duties at the South Carolina State House, but his attorney says he won’t resign.Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest details in this developing story. 

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