The Latest: Ex-chief who killed man won't work as cop again

AP News
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Posted: Sep 01, 2015 6:24 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The latest on a white former police chief who pleaded guilty to misconduct in office in the shooting death of an unarmed black man (all times local):

6 p.m.

The attorney for a white former South Carolina police chief sentenced to a year of home detention in the shooting death of an unarmed black man says his client does not plan to work as a police officer again.

Richard Combs' lawyer Wally Fayssoux said after Combs' guilty plea Tuesday that his main goal is to get his life back together.

Fayssoux says his client was branded as a racist and must rebuild his character.

Combs was the Eutawville police chief when he shot and killed Walter Bailey in May 2011 while trying to arrest him on what prosecutors called a trumped up obstruction of justice warrant. Combs says he feared for his life.

Combs pleaded guilty to misconduct in office. He had been charged with murder.

Bailey's family says he was a good man who stayed out of trouble and was targeted for arrest by an officer who was on a power trip.

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4:15 p.m.

A judge has sentenced a white former South Carolina police chief to a year of home detention, but no prison time in the on-duty fatal shooting of an unarmed black man.

Richard Combs pleaded guilty Tuesday to misconduct in office. Prosecutors agreed to drop a murder charge against him after hung juries in two murder trials.

Circuit Judge Edgar Dickson suspended a 10-year prison sentence for Combs as long as he completes his home detention and five years of probation. The 10-year sentence was the maximum.

Combs shot Bernard Bailey three times as he tried to pull out of Eutawville Town Hall in May 2011. Bailey came to complain about a traffic ticket given to his daughter and Combs tried to serve him with an obstruction of justice warrant when Bailey stormed out.

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3:50 p.m.

A white ex-police chief has agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the shooting death of an unarmed black man.

Prosecutors agreed Tuesday to drop the murder charge against 38-year-old Richard Combs, who is the former police chief of the small town of Eutawville. Combs agreed to plead guilty to misconduct in office. He could face up to 10 years behind bars, but there is no minimum sentence.

Combs stood trial twice on the murder charge, but both cases ended with hung juries. He would have faced 30 years to life if convicted of murder.

Authorities say Combs shot Bernard Bailey in May 2011 as he tried to arrest him on an obstruction of justice charge weeks after he argued about his daughter's traffic ticket

(The version corrects the victim's first name to Bernard, not Walter)