A man standing trial on sexual assault charges killed himself, his wife and their two children on Thursday, hours before he was to testify, authorities said.

Police discovered the bodies at the family's rural home after Scott McCarter, 40, failed to show up in court, County Prosecutor Ronald J. Casella said.

All four appeared to have died from gunshot wounds, Casella said.

McCarter was accused of molesting two teenage girls between 2001 and 2004. He had denied the charges.

"This is a tragedy to the entire family," said Jeffrey Hark, McCarter's lawyer in the case. "It's a tragedy all the way around. It's a very hard day. My family extends our heartfelt condolences to everybody involved."