Richard Combs

Now-former Eutawville, S.C., Police Chief Richard Combs will once again face a jury and be retried on a murder charge in the May 2011 death of Bernard Bailey, an unarmed black man, The Guardian reports.

The last time the case was deliberated, the trial lasted all of six days and jurors deliberated for about 12 hours before declaring themselves deadlocked, the news site notes.


Combs was indicted in December, his case drawing particular attention after the police-involved deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y.

During the former police chief’s first trial in January in Orangeburg County, S.C., home of the small town that housed the one-man Police Department, Combs’ lawyers attempted to get the case moved, declaring that publicity surrounding the case in light of nationwide protests about police-involved deaths of unarmed blacks made it impossible for a fair trial, according to The Guardian.


This time around, however, Circuit Judge Edgar Dickson has approved lawyers’ requests to change the location of the trial to Columbia, S.C., in Richland County, 35 miles away. Jury selection for the trial will begin Monday, the news site notes.

Combs faces 30 years to life without parole if convicted on the murder charge.

As The Guardian notes, according to testimony during the first trial, the incident started when Combs stopped Bailey’s daughter about seven weeks prior to the shooting for a broken taillight. Bailey’s daughter called her father, who came to the scene. Combs accused Bailey of attempting to interfere with the stop and got a warrant charging obstruction of justice.


Combs reportedly tried to serve Bailey the warrant when he arrived at Town Hall the day before his daughter’s trial. Bailey walked out of the building, followed by Combs. Combs reportedly got caught in Bailey’s truck door, the defense argued, as Bailey attempted to drive off. Combs’ attorneys have argued that Combs fired three times in self-defense, afraid that he would be pulled under the vehicle. He reportedly did not have any pepper spray or a Taser. 

Prosecutors countered that Bailey’s truck was not moving and that Combs could have stepped away from the door, arguing that the warrant was fabricated, according to The Guardian.


Read more at The Guardian.