PETERSBURG, Va. — A former Petersburg sheriff’s deputy awaiting trial on sex charges has died in jail.

Defense attorney Greg Sheldon tells The Richmond Times-Dispatch that 68-year-old Vernard Bailey died of cancer at the Piedmont Regional Jail. Sheldon says Bailey died in his sleep Tuesday.

Bailey was fired in March after his arrest.

He was charged in Petersburg with soliciting a prostitute and several counts involving attempted sex with a young girl. In Chesterfield County, he was charged after a search of his home turned up photographs of naked adults and children.

Bailey had been with the Petersburg Sheriff’s Office for 27 years.