On Tuesday, prosecutors agreed to drop the murder charge against a former South Carolina police chief in exchange for a guilty plea to “misconduct in office.”
Richard Combs, 38, had been facing 30 years in prison for the murder of 54-year-old Bernard Bailey in 2011.
The former Chief will only serve a one-year home detention sentence and five years of probation.
In May 2011, Combs shot Bailey three times as he tried to leave the scene while the chief was attempting to serve him with a warrant for obstruction of justice.
The incident took place in Eutawville, which is a town of only 300 people.
Combs was reportedly the only officer in the tiny town of Eutawville.
“He has to completely start over. He was branded a racist,” Combs’ attorney Wally Fayssoux told the Associated Press “All of that wasn’t true.”
Combs is caucasian, his victim was african-american.
Combs argued with the Combs on the side of the highway over a traffic ticket his daughter received a couple weeks prior, which resulted in an arrest warrant.
The prosecution argued that Combs was trying to arrest Bailey on a trumped up charge, was in no danger or threat to his life, and could have simply stepped out of the vehicle’s way.
The defense countered that Combs had been leaning into Bailey’s pickup truck and had to shoot him as he attempted to drive off, instead of you know- pulling his head out of the vehicle.
This was the third trial for Combs, with the first court battles two ending in hung juries.
In the first trial, the jury voted 9-3 to convict the former chief. By the second one that dropped to 8-4, with four wanting a conviction for murder, four wanting voluntary manslaughter, and four believing that he was not guilty.
With the current deal, Combs received a 10-year suspended prison sentence provided that he completes the home detention and his probation.
How many citizen murderers would get the same lenient treatment as this former top cop?