Judge grants bond for Dorchester Co. coroner on misconduct charge

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A judge set bond for the Dorchester County coroner who turned himself in to authorities on a charge of misconduct in office Friday.

Chris Nisbet, 47, appeared before a bond judge Friday afternoon, and the judge handed down a $5,000 personal recognizance bond

Nisbet's attorneys say they are happy about the PR bond, but still disheartened about the charge.

Nisbet declined to make a statement in court regarding the Aug. 26 civil disturbance that led to this charge.

Nisbet arrived at the county's law enforcement center shortly before 2 p.m., Friday, a day after a solicitor said Nisbet planned to turn himself in on the charge. His attorney did not speak to the media as they walked inside the sheriff's office.

The charge stems from an incident between Coroner Chris Nisbet and his neighbor in which Summerville police said Nisbet pulled a gun on him. First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe confirmed Thursday Nisbet would turn himself in on Friday.

Summerville police said the incident involved Nisbet pulling a gun on a man, Leroy Fulton, who allegedly pulled a gun on a repo worker, John Mauldin. Fulton and Nisbet are neighbors.

Summerville police asked the State Law Enforcement Division to determine whether a full investigation was warranted, and on Aug. 27, SLED spokesman Thom Berry confirmed the agency was conducting a full investigation.

Police responded to a call in the area of Doty Park at 12:42 a.m. on Aug. 25 and found Nisbet on a street arguing with a second man. Nisbet had drawn a gun but it was pointed at the ground, according to an incident report. Later that afternoon, Summerville police released dash camera footage of the incident.

Nisbet said that evening he wanted SLED to investigate him.

"I would rather SLED investigate me then me have to investigate a poor and working man getting killed in my neighbor's yard," Nisbet said.

The report stated Mauldin told police he went to Fulton's door and told him he was there to repossess the vehicle, at which point Mauldin said Fulton pointed a gun at him and said, "You can leave now or die." Mauldin said he left the yard and contacted Summerville police.

Nisbet told police he was pulling into his driveway when he saw a tow truck pull into Fulton's yard. He said he saw Fulton walk up to the repo driver and point something at the driver, which Nisbet told police he believed was a gun. He said Mauldin then got into his tow truck and left, the report states.

Nisbet said he then approached Mauldin and asked what had happened. As the two talked, they say Fulton got into his truck and attempted to leave the scene. Mauldin and his girlfriend, who was in the tow truck during the incident, claimed Fulton stopped alongside their vehicle and threatened to shoot them if they followed him.

Nisbet told police he got back into his truck, activated his blue lights and went after Fulton, pulling in front of him to block his path in front of Doty Park. Nisbet said he pulled his weapon and demanded Fulton stop the vehicle, adding he pulled his weapon because he did not know whether the man was armed. Police arrived after Nisbet had exited his vehicle and approached Fulton, the report states.

Nisbet continued to hold his weapon, not complying with multiple verbal commands he was being given, the report states. Police say after about 15 seconds, Nisbet complied and placed his firearm on the ground and backed away from it. One of the officers reported smelling the odor of alcohol coming from Nisbet's person, the report states.

Fulton told police the only thing in his hand was his cell phone, which he dropped as he got out of the vehicle because Nisbet was pointing a gun at him. Fulton admitted to owning two guns but said neither was with him, the report states.

Authorities found no sign of a weapon when they searched Fulton's vehicle, the report states.

They also searched an area along the road where Nisbet, Mauldin and Mauldin's girlfriend claimed to have seen the driver throw something from the vehicle, but police could find no sign of anything, the report states.

Fulton was transported home by officers and Mauldin took possession of the vehicle. Fulton denied pulling a gun on Mauldin when Mauldin came to his door.

Pascoe says a warrant for Nisbet's arrest was signed Thursday. A misconduct in office conviction carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.

A bond hearing is scheduled for Nisbet Friday, Pascoe said.

Copyright 2015 WCSC. All rights reserved.