A Rome man was found dead of an apparent suicide at his home Thursday a short time before a jury returned a verdict finding him guilty of a felony child molestation charge in Floyd County Superior Court.

The trial of Mark Stephen Ely, 44, began on Tuesday. He was arrested in May 2008 and charged with felony child molestation and misdemeanor sexual battery.

Ely’s legal council, Summerville attorney Rex Abernathy said that the defendent couldn’t handle the mistake that he had made.

RNT