Mississippi Tea Party Figure in Controversy Found Dead
Attorney Mark Mayfield apparently shot himself
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2014 12:59 PM CDT
This photo released May 22 by the Madison Police Department shows attorney Mark Mayfield.   (AP Photo/Madison Police Department)

(Newser) – One sad coda to Mississippi's brutal Senate seat fight: A state Tea Party leader facing conspiracy charges over campaign tactics has been found dead in an apparent suicide, reports the Clarion-Ledger. Mark Mayfield was vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party and a respected attorney in the state, but he ended up under arrest in May. He and other supporters of challenger Chris McDaniel were accused of conspiring to obtain images of Sen. Thad Cochran's bedridden wife in a nursing home to use in anti-Cochran ads.

Mayfield was a client "but more importantly, he was a friend for almost 34 years," his attorney, Merrida Coxwell, tells CNN. "My heart is completely broken. This is beyond tragic and the people of this community and state have lost a good man and citizen." Cochran defeated McDaniel in their runoff by a slim margin, though McDaniel is still considering a legal challenge over what he calls "widespread irregularities" in the vote count, reports Politico.