This Dec. 27, 2016 photo provided by the Aiken County Detention Center shows state Rep. Chris Corley, who authorities said attacked his wife in their Graniteville home.

COLUMBIA — A South Carolina state lawmaker accused of beating his wife bloody has resigned rather than face expulsion from the statehouse after a grand jury indicted him on a felony aggravated domestic violence charge that could put him in prison for up to 20 years.

A number of lawmakers, including several Democratic and Republican leaders, had called for Rep. Chris Corley's resignation in recent weeks. House Speaker Jay Lucas read Corley's short resignation letter to his colleagues Tuesday.

Corley might be best known as a staunch defender of the Confederate flag. He was easily re-elected with no opposition to a second term representing parts of Aiken County.

Several legislators said they couldn't stay silent after hearing a 911 call made from Corley's home the day after Christmas. Two children can be heard screaming for their daddy to stop.

Corley's wife told deputies he stopped hitting her only after noticing she was bleeding and hearing his children's screams.

"The South Carolina Constitution clearly states that the House of Representatives has the sole authority to expel one of its members for disorderly conduct," Lucas said in a released statement. "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."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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