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‘Just stop, daddy,’ child pleads to lawmaker charged with domestic violence

The 911 call from inside the home of Rep. Chris Corley is punctuated with screams of what the dispatcher believed were the Corleys’ children “begging for their father to stop.”

The first call late Monday went to the Aiken Public Safety Department, the city’s police agency. No one speaks to the dispatcher, but through screams in the background a voice that appears to be his 8-year-old daughter pleads.

“Please stop. Just stop, daddy. Just stop. Daddy, why are you doing this?”

The couple’s toddler also was in the house.

Corley’s wife of 12 years also is heard in the background. “Chris please stop,” she said. “Please, help.”

Then line then goes dead.

Audio of Monday night’s call was released by the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, just days after the 36-year-old Aiken legislator’s arrest on charges of domestic violence and pointing a gun at his wife.

The operator in the initial call summons the Aiken County 911 operator, after the call was disconnected, in order to get deputies on the scene. Corley’s home is in Graniteville, a few miles from the county seat.

“I had a caller, sounded a lot like children screaming for help and begging for their father to stop,” the clearly shaken operator said. The call ends with the county operator saying she’ll dispatch deputies to the house.

Deputies would later get a follow-up phone call from a different woman.

That caller, who has been identified by sheriff’s office as Corley’s mother-in-law, is heard calmly telling deputies that a man with a gun “beat his wife and he’s threatening to kill his self (sic).” Corley’s wife and two of their children had fled across the street to her mother’s home.

In the background of the second recording, Corley’s wife can be heard saying, “Don’t get near the window, y’all.”

Dash cam footage also was made available Friday, though it is primarily audio and images of deputies sport-utility vehicles parked along the side of Corley’s home.

Corley would be arrested Tuesday on charges that he punched his wife in the face and threatened to kill her as he pointed a 9 mm pistol at her during an argument after she accused him of cheating, according to Aiken County sheriff’s records.

The Aiken Republican faces a felony charge of first-degree criminal domestic violence, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, if convicted. Corley also is charged with pointing and presenting a firearm.

Corley has no prior criminal record, according to State Law Enforcement Division records. But the seriousness of the charges position him to be suspended from his House seat if he’s indicted on the charges by an Aiken County grand jury. The jury meets next week.

Corley’s wife, who The State newspaper is not identifying by name, told deputies that the only thing that stopped Corley were the screams of two of their children, ages 2 and 8, according to the deputies’ incident report.

The lawmaker then went into a bedroom, saying he “was going to kill himself,” his wife, 37, told deputies. As Corley headed for the bedroom, his wife and the children ran to her mother’s house across the street, the report states.

Corley would tell deputies later that the couple’s eldest child had been at his mother-in-law’s home before the fight broke out.

In the dash cam footage, a deputy acknowledges that Corley has marks on his face. Corley told deputies earlier that his wife scratched his forehead when he pushed her off from an attack by her, according to the incident report.

“I don’t want her to go to jail,” Corley is heard telling deputies.

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