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Monday, April 18, 2011


Man attacks wife during divorce hearing in judge's chambers

Man attacks wife during divorce hearing in judge's chambers

Bond set at $1 million on Saturday

Paul Henry Gonzalez

Paul Henry Gonzalez (Broward Sheriff's Office handout, Sun Sentinel / April 15, 2011)


Tonya Alanez and Linda Trischitta, Sun Sentinel

2:30 p.m. EDT, April 16, 2011

Bond was set at $1 million Saturday for an ex-Marine who viciously attacked his wife during a final divorce hearing in a judge's chambers Friday morning, splitting her lip, causing her head to swell and bruise and leading to her hospitalization, authorities said.

Paul Henry Gonzalez Jr., 28, of Fort Lauderdale, had to be subdued with a stun gun and is being held at the Main Jail on charges of felony battery, domestic violence and resisting arrest without violence, according to a police report.

Catherine Ann Scott-Gonzalez, 23, also a former Marine, was rushed to Holy Cross Hospital where she is bruised and swollen but in stable condition with facial fractures, a torn lip and a broken nose, said her boyfriend, Brennan Worsencroft, 30.

She will be held in the intensive care unit overnight to monitor for brain trauma, said Worsencroft, who witnessed the attack.

Scott's attorney, Michael Dunleavy, described the assault in Broward County Judge Ronald Rothschild's chambers as "unexpected" and "surreal."

"He was punching with a true vengeance. It was vicious," said Dunleavy, who intervened and held Gonzalez in a bear hug until deputies arrived. "He was in a rage."

The couple was married in 2006 and have a 1-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son.

Dunleavy said Gonzalez, who did not have an attorney, balked at paying child support and having a judge tell him when he could or couldn't visit his children and stormed out of the chambers. He returned to shout something about not obeying any orders, Dunleavy said, and again retreated.

Gonzalez raced back in, and "without provocation" began pummeling Scott with closed fists, according to a police report.

Gonzalez rushed Scott from behind, grabbed her by the neck and repeatedly hit her on the side of her face. The first blow knocked her unconscious, Worsencroft, the boyfriend, said.

"I'm in shock and disbelief," Worsencroft said. "I didn't think anybody could take it to that extreme, much less in a judge's chambers at that. Words, to be honest with you, could not describe what went on."

Dunleavy wrapped his arms around Gonzalez until deputies arrived, according to the police report.

Meanwhile, Scott collapsed in courtroom clerk Elana Mae Allen's arms, a pool of blood forming near the judge's chair, Dunleavy said.

When deputies tried to handcuff Gonzalez, he threw them off until they eventually pinned him on the judge's conference table and shocked him twice with a stun gun, according to Dunleavy and the police report.

"It was surreal," Dunleavy said. "To see that violence play out in a judge's chambers is somewhat surreal."

Because there are matters yet pending in the case, Rothschild declined to go into any details about the attack.

"It was totally unanticipated," he said. "It was just an unfortunate incident by somebody just stressed out in the heat of the moment."

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