Former Police Chief Facing Retrial In Killing Of Unarmed Black Man
The last jury was deadlocked.
On Monday, Richard Combs, the white former police chief of Eutawville, will be retried on a murder charge in the May 2011 death of Bernard Bailey. Bailey died outside the small community’s town hall, which also houses the town’s one-man police department.
At the time of Combs’ indictment last December, the case drew comparisons to the shooting of a black man in Ferguson, Missouri, and the chokehold death of a black by police officers in New York City.
At Combs’ first trial in Orangeburg in January, his attorneys had unsuccessfully argued it should be moved. They cited publicity surrounding the case after weeks of protests nationwide over the killings of blacks by white law officers, adding it made it impossible to get a fair trial there…
Circuit Judge Edgar Dickson this month approved a defense request for a change of venue, moving the trial to Columbia in Richland County about 35 miles away. The case will be heard by Circuit Judge Brian Gibbons of Chester with jury selection set to begin Monday.
If convicted of murder, Combs could face 30 years to life without parole. During the first trial, Dickson also allowed the jury to consider voluntary manslaughter. Any conviction on that charge could be punished by two to 30 years in prison.