Crime & Courts

South Carolina ‘System Fail’: Details Of The Latest Preventable Violence

An attack that never should have happened …

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Yesterday, our media outlet called out the latest “system fail” tied to South Carolina’s much-maligned courts – a failure we warned our audience about back in September 2022.

Casey Lee Combs – a habitual, violent abuser of women – was inexplicably granted his freedom eighteen months ago over the objections of prosecutors, law enforcement officers and multiple victims. Combs was sentenced to nearly a decade-and-a-half behind bars following a litany of horrific attacks against multiple women. Unfortunately, his sentence was controversially suspended by a judge with a history of unconscionable leniency toward violent criminals.

That judge?  Bentley Price.

Luckily for Lowcountry residents who care about public safety, one of Combs’ victims – Molly Vick – decided she’d had enough. After Vick shared her story with us, the S.C. Bar found Price unqualified to continue serving as a judge. Not long thereafter, state lawmakers declined to advance his nomination out of their scandal-scarred screening committee.

(Click to View)

Molly Vick (Provided)

Since appearing on our media outlet, Vick has become a passionate advocate for reforming the Palmetto State’s badly broken system of choosing judges – appearing before several legislative subcommittees studying reform proposals. We’re hoping she encounters continued success in all of her efforts.

Clearly, the system needs people like her standing up and being counted … especially in light of what happened in Combs’ case.

Eighteen months ago, we assailed Price’s decision to set Combs free … and last weekend our concerns were borne out. As we reported earlier this week, Combs was arrested on Wednesday (February 21, 2023) and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, assault and battery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

Since publishing out initial report about these charges, we have obtained copies of the probable cause affidavits accompanying the warrants for his arrest. According to those affidavits (.pdf), Combs broke into the home of an “on and off” girlfriend on Landsdowne Drive in the James Island area of Charleston, S.C. at approximately 2:00 a.m. EST on the morning of Saturday, February 17, 2024. A male who was in the residence at the time reported hearing a “knocking/ banging” at the backdoor of the dwelling. When he answer the door, he was allegedly struck “in the mouth with a handgun” by Combs – who entered the home forcible and proceeded to the woman’s bedroom. After waking her up, Combs pressed his handgun against her head and repeatedly called her a “whore,” according to the affidavit.

The male victim fled to the backyard during the attack but later observed Combs leaving the home on a “longboard,” the affidavit alleged. Surveillance cameras later picked up an individual matching Combs’ description on a longboard near the scene of the attack.

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Bolstering the police’s case further, at approximately 3:49 a.m. EST on the morning of February 17, Combs allegedly sent the female victim a text message which read as follows: “Kinda funny lol. Your boy got knocked the fuck out in your backyard LOL YOU CHEATING CUNT I BUSTED YOU BITCH.”

The male victim was subsequently transported to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) for treatment of “a severe laceration of his upper lip which extended from the outside of his mouth to the inside of his mouth,” according to the affidavit. His injuries were expected to require sutures.

As with anyone accused of committing any crime, Combs is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as he may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to the charges filed against him. His case will be prosecuted by the office of S.C. ninth circuit solicitor Scarlett Wilson. To Wilson’s credit, her office pushed for a lengthy prison sentence for Combs upon the occasion of his guilty plea back in September 2022 – but judge Price ignored that recommendation and let him walk.

As has been his custom in dealing with violent criminals …

Assuming Combs is convicted of any of the four crimes of which he now stands accused, it would constitute a clear violation of the terms of his probation – meaning in addition to any sentence imposed in connection with these alleged crimes, he could also be on the hook to serve the entirety of the sentence he should’ve already been serving at the time of the most recent incident.

Charleston County magistrate Amanda Haseldon denied bond for Combs during an initial court appearance on Thursday morning (February 22, 2023). He will have an opportunity to make his case for bond before a circuit court judge eventually, however. To her credit, Haseldon also denied bond to Combs on the last round of charges he faced.

Count on this media outlet to keep our audience in the loop on the latest developments in this case – as well as efforts to fix the way judges are chosen in the Palmetto State.

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THE WARRANTS …

(City of Charleston)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.

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6 comments

Happy Jack Top fan February 23, 2024 at 7:17 pm

I think the Honorable Bentley Douglas Price and FITS should strike the following deal: Judge Price retires effective immediately and FITS agrees to stop rubbing his nose in dog poop. He will likely say no in order to help out his “friends” in the hope they will give him a job when his term ends. Naturally and rightfully they will not reciprocate. Because once he losses the robe his “friends” will go bye bye.

Reply
Paddlin February 23, 2024 at 9:52 pm

You need to correct the part where you say “Price” was attested. Approx para 7.

Reply
Anne Jennings Top fan February 25, 2024 at 12:05 pm

You need to correct a date to February 21, 2024.

Reply
Rebecca Shields Top fan February 26, 2024 at 8:30 am

Victims and victim advocates spoke out against David Miller as well. Yet they deemed him qualified. They don’t really care about the victims – they had just used Price up

Reply
Teresa Whetzel Top fan February 26, 2024 at 12:08 pm

Without a doubt our system is broken. That’s why this violent person was back out on the street. Guess it depends on who he attacks ?

Reply
Happy Jack Top fan February 26, 2024 at 11:43 pm

Tersesa, you are right about who these people attack. Just as important is whether these violent criminals have a lawyer legislator as counsel.

Reply

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