A South Carolina House member who rebuked his colleagues in a Christmas card for lacking morals when they took down the Confederate flag is accused of beating his wife and pointing a gun at her, deputies said. Officers in Aiken County charged Rep. Chris Corley with a pair of felonies that could send him to prison for up to 15 years after he attacked his wife during an argument over his alleged infidelity late Monday night at their home in Graniteville, according to a police report. The couple's young children were there, and the wife took the family to her mother's house across the street after Corley threatened to kill her, then said he would kill himself, the report said. Corley's wife said he stopped hitting her only after noticing she was bleeding and hearing the children screaming, deputies said.
Corley is charged with first-degree criminal domestic violence, which carries up to 10 years in prison if convicted, and pointing a firearm at a person, which has a maximum sentence of five years, the AP reports. Corley's arrest comes after a legislative session in which lawmakers strengthened punishments for domestic violence. Gov. Nikki Haley made it a priority to reduce the state's high rate of women killed by men who know them. Corley voted for the legislation. The 36-year-old Republican lawyer, who was just elected to a second term, is best known in the House as a staunch defender of the Confederate flag. In 2015, he sent a Christmas card with the Confederate flag on it to GOP lawmakers after the flag came down suggesting they "ask for forgiveness of all your sins such as betrayal." (Read more domestic violence stories.)