Chris Corley, ex-legislator known for Confederate flag stand, to plead guilty in attack on wife

AIKEN, S.C. — A former South Carolina legislator is expected to plead guilty Monday to a domestic violence charge in an attack on his wife, a felony that could land him in prison for a decade.

Attorneys for Chris Corley have informed state prosecutors their client is planning to change his plea to guilty during a hearing in Aiken, according to Robert Kittle, spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office. He’s expected to plead guilty to first-degree criminal domestic violence, which carries a sentence from probation to 10 years in prison.

His wife, Heather Corley, prepared a statement to be read to Judge Doyet A. Early III asking for leniency. She blames a previously undiagnosed bipolar disorder for his behavior, according to the Aiken Standard, which obtained a copy from her lawyer. 

A grand jury initially indicted the 36-year-old lawmaker on aggravated domestic violence – the state’s toughest category of such crimes, punishable by up to 20 years in prison – enhanced when the alleged abuse occurs in the presence of children. 

The Republican from Graniteville had just been elected to a second term when authorities say he attacked his wife during an argument over his infidelity the day after Christmas. In a police report, authorities said the couple’s young children were present when Corley attacked his wife, biting her nose bloody and pointing a gun at her. 

“Just stop, Daddy. Just stop,” his children can be heard on a 911 call. “Daddy, why are you doing this?” 

Corley’s wife said he stopped hitting her only after noticing she was bleeding and hearing the children screaming, authorities said. Prosecutors said he took away his wife’s cellphone to keep her from summoning help, but that she managed to call 911 on her Apple Watch. 

Authorities said that after Corley threatened to kill her and then said he’d kill himself, his wife took the children to her mother’s house across the street. 

Local solicitors asked Attorney General Alan Wilson to take over the domestic violence case. Suspended from the state House after his indictment, Corley resigned his seat a month after his arrest, as lawmakers prepared to introduce legislation calling for his expulsion. 

Heather Corley had begged prosecutors to drop the case or allow him to plead guilty to a lesser charge that would enable him to keep his law license. 

She said they need his income as a lawyer to support their three children. The Attorney General’s Office said it would move forward…

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