Mistrial on Murder Charge in Police Shooting of South Carolina Man

Mistrial on Murder Charge in Police Shooting of South Carolina Man

A jury has could not a make a decision in the murder trial of Officer Richard J. Combs in the murder trial of Bernard Bailey.

Published January 13, 2015

A jury could not a make a decision on the murder charge of Officer Richard J. Combs in the killing of Bernard Bailey in 2011, the New York Times reports.

Judge Edgar W. Dickson declared the case a mistrial Tuesday after all but three jurors voted to convict Combs. Combs shot Bailey three times after he says Bailey attempted to use his car to harm him.

Prosecutors painted Combs as a "spiteful" officer who was abusing his power, but race was not mentioned as a motive behind his actions. Combs's first encounter with Bailey was in March 2011, when he stopped Bailey's daughter because the taillight on her vehicle was broken. 

When Bailey arrived at the scene, Combs ordered a warrant for obstruction of justice against him. Combs did not serve the warrant until May 2 during the court date for Bailey's daughter. Bailey left as Combs attempted to arrest him.

The conflict between the two men continued into the town hall's parking lot, where Bailey got into his truck. As Bailey put his truck in reverse, Combs fired shots. Bailey was killed at the scene.

The U.S. Department of Justice chose not to file charges against Combs after conducting its own investigation. 

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(Photo: AP Photo/The Times and Democrat, Larry Hardy, File)

Written by Natelege Whaley

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