COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A member of the South Carolina House of Representatives indicted on a domestic violence charge has resigned.
Aiken County Rep. Chris Corley was formally indicted earlier this month on charges of one count of domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature and one count of pointing and presenting a firearm.
Corley submitted his resignation letter Tuesday afternoon.
Corley, according to the indictment, threatened to kill his wife. The victim reported that Corley stopped when he heard the couple's child screaming and noticed blood coming from the victim's head. He then reportedly went out to his car and got a gun that he pointed at his wife before saying he was going to kill himself. The report says he then went into a bedroom at the home.
Children can be heard screaming for help and begging for their father to stop on a graphic 911 call from Corley's residence.
Corley had been suspended by the House because of the charges.
"I'm glad Representative Corley came to his senses and resigned," Rep. Bill Taylor from Aiken said. "We had been asking for him in Aiken County to resign his position. He knew this resolution was being introduced and literally his resignation came just moments before the resolution to expel him was introduced."
After Corley's resignation, House Speaker Jay Lucas (District 65-Darlington) released this statement:
"I have received and accepted Representative Chris Corley's letter of resignation. The South Carolina Constitution clearly states that the House of Representatives has the sole authority to expel one of its members for disorderly conduct. Even though I prepared a resolution calling for his removal, I am grateful that the House did not have to take such extraordinary measures and expel Rep. Corley from this Institution."
There will be a special election to fill his seat. Corley's district included parts of Aiken County. Had he been expelled, he would have been the first since 1870 to be expelled from the House.
"Representative Corley needed to leave the House of Representatives. He was not going to return here, not with those charges. Even though he'll get due process in the criminal courts, we are held to a higher standard in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. Here in the State House, higher standard - and you can't serve here with those charges hanging over you," Taylor said. "It might have been two years before that was resolved in some fashion and therefore his constituents, nearly 40,000 of them in the Aiken County area, wouldn't be represented here in the State House in this body."