Judge Denies Bond For Man Accused Of Attacking Wife In Courtroom

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – A Broward County Judge ordered a former Marine held without bond Monday on charges that he viciously beat his ex-wife during a court proceeding in the couple’s divorce.

Paul Gonzalez was seeking to have his bond lowered from $1 million on an aggravated battery charge. However, after hearing testimony from Gonzalez’s ex-wife Judge Geoffrey Cohen determined there was no “condition of pre-trial release” to protect the victim.

Gonzalez’s attorney argued that her client had never been arrested for any prior domestic incidents and that the judge couple impose other conditions — like a GPS monitor — to ensure the victim’s safety. The judge refused.

The victim — Catherine Scott — entered the courtroom and did not look at Gonzalez.

Gonzalez turned his chair away from the courtroom to avoid eye contact with his ex-wife. Judge Cohen stopped the hearing to tell Gonzalez to turn his chair back to the court.

On the witness stand, Scott told the judge about a pattern of abuse at Gonzalez’s hands, a series of threatening text messages she received from him after the split and the injuries she suffered during the beating in a judge’s chambers on April 15th.

Scott said she remembers nothing of the attack, which occurred after Gonzalez left Judge Ronald Rothschild’s courtroom then walked back in and is accused of punching her.

She testified she lost consciousness and woke up with paramedics around her.

“My mom was holding my hand, cleaning the blood off my face,” she said. “I was asking about the kids.”

Scott said her injuries were extensive.

“I had a broken cheekbone, a broken nose in two places and many bruises,” she said.

Gonzalez had to be subdued with a stun gun after he attacked Scott. The couple were discussing final details about their divorce when Gonzalez lunged at his wife, and beat her with closed fists numerous times, say prosecutors. The judge, his clerk and Scott’s attorney, Michael J. Dunleavy, all witnessed the attack.

Scott said the abuse started just months after the couple met in 2004. She told the judge about a time she tried to leave Gonzalez just months later.

“Mr. Gonzalez started breaking all of my things, which scared me,” Scott said. “I went to the bathroom. He broke down the door and he dragged me across the living room and threw me out the door and started throwing all my belongings out the front door as well.”

The couple reconciled and were married in September 2006. They had two children.

Scott testified Gonzalez became angry and violent several times a month. Yet she tried to keep the relationship going.

“I loved him and I didn’t want to give up at that point,” she said. “I had children and I wanted to do the best I could.”

Scott said after the couple split, the problems grew worse. She said there were threatening text messages and she accused him of trying to hit her when she met Gonzalez in a public parking lot to drop off the children for visitation.

“He came at me and swung at me while holding our daughter in his arms and my son was standing right there,” she testified.

Under questioning from Gonzalez’s attorney, Dawn Swickle, Scott admitted that she had called the police on numerous occasions to report Gonzalez yet he was never arrested. She also admitted that her request for a restraining order prior to the attack was denied.

Scott said she feared for her safety and the safety of her children if Gonzalez were released from jail.

“If Mr. Gonzalez was capable of doing what he did in front of who he did it in front of, there’s no stopping him,” she said.

Gonzalez is being held at the Broward County Jail. If convicted of the attack, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

Monday’s hearing was a continuation of a bond hearing that began last week. At that hearing, Scott’s mother, Doreen Scott, testified she was not in the courtroom when the attack happened but received a call on her cell phone.

“They said come quickly Paul beat up Katie, and I ran,” said Scott. “When I got there they let me in and I saw my daugther in a pool of blood.”

Scott, who is a registered nurse, says she cleared her daughter’s throat and nose to make sure she could breathe.

“She said where am I mommy and then she went unconscious again,” recalled Scott. “She had to have surgery to put a rod in her jaw so she can chew.”

But Gonzalez’s family and co-workers who packed the courtroom for the hearing insist he is not a violent man.

“When I saw his picture on TV I was shocked,” said his boss Bruce Walker.

Walker says Gonzalez has worked for him for over a year and he’s never seen him violent.

But Walker says Gonzalez seemed, “depressed about his personal life and seemed heartbroken.”

Gonzalez’s mother Edith Beavers at first denied she knew of any violence in the relationship.

But when pressed said there were maybe one or two times when her daughter-in-law called to complain that Paul Gonzalez had become physically violent.

“She’d call me many times about silly things, like he was spending too much time on the computer,” said Beavers. ” She was not a saint. Very manipulative.”

More from Carey Codd
  • Ninja Indian

    Good decision. If he would beat her in front of the judge, his clerk, and her attorney, i doubt that a piece of paper would restrain him.

  • yokolee

    She is lucky to be alive, sad

  • Lisa Johnson

    Please stay away from him! He is dangerous…The bail should not be lowered he is a menace! As for the mother, you know your son is a violent person; stop playing games!

  • San Lewy

    This brute needs to be chained to a prison cell wall.

  • Tim

    Depression and Heartbreak can make even sane men seem absolutely crazy. Emotions can be very powerful at times. He deserves punishment, maybe a couple of years, but not the rest of his life in jail for a fist fight. Besides, in most divorces, the other person is intentionally trying to hurt/anger/vilify the other. Her actions/comments very likely pushed him over the edge.

    • Jedi

      He beat a woman ….and it was her fault ????????? You are never confused with being a genius , are you ?

      • Myself

        I agree with Tim 100 percent. Who knows what she did to provoke this….

    • ThunderKitty

      This was a sneak attack by a cowardly man, not a fist fight. A fist fight is when two people engage in the battle, this was not that. I am pretty sure if offered she wouldn’t choose to have a fist fight with him because odds are she would lose. This ex-marine chose to attack his ex-wife while they were discussing child support. (read up and get all the facts) He didn’t want to pay it. Being a marine he was trained to handle high stress situations and since divorces don’t happen over night and takes months to years to complete, he had plenty of time to adapt to the situation. Go somewhere else with that blame the victim mentality. He broke her nose, jaw, and she needs a rod in her face just to eat.

    • coffee22

      Where did it state there was a fist fight? He hit her in the face with a closed fist.
      In front of a Judge. No one male or female deserve that.

    • Heather

      grow up jackwagon. You are as low as he is.

    • Christopher L. Gibson

      What the hell are you smoking on right now. He terrorized her before and after they separated and then had the gall to violently attack her inside of a courtroom. How is it the other person’s fault. You really have to be messed up in the head to believe that. Beside, the man was military trained, if you forgot. Being held in jail with no chance of bonding or bailing out prior to trial was the absolute right thing to do. I feel pity for the woman involved, and I fully lay the blame on the ex-husband in this situation.

    • Tina

      Tim, are you kidding me? A fist fight? By no means was this a “Fish Fight”. This man maliously attachked this women in front of a judge. He could have killed her with the blows that were given to her face. Your statement only tells me that you must be an abuser as well. A fist fight. What a joke!

    • The Continental Op

      Tim –
      Whenever I take the time to comment on a news item or to agree or disagree with someone else’s comment I try to be civil. But in your case I must say, you mister, are a TOOL.

  • Levi

    Gonzales mother is just as bad as her coward son. To say the wife was manipulative for calling her for help is just crazy. The men that beat there wives often come off in public a gentle kind men. It’s when they are behind closed doors their true identity comes to the surface. I’m sure he was baby and spoiled by his mother all his life. This man is a coward and does not deserve to be call Marine!

    • Lollipoop

      I totally agree Levi, and am glad that someone else pointed this out. Sadly, he probably grew up in a home where abuse was common which is why he deals with stressful situations by becoming physically and/or emotionally abusive. For his mother, maybe this behavior is normal.

  • Sleeping Beauty

    Tim I agree with some of your comment. Yes, depression, heartbreak can cause any person whether man or woman to do crazy things but there is NO excuse for physical harm on anyone. I have been through a divorce and its ugly for everyone. I dont believe he needs to go to jail for the rest of his life but he does need to serve time and get some major counseling. Hopefully the judge will consider that in the sentencing.

    • Sleeping Beauty

      Also, I have to add that his mother is doing him no justice by sticking up for him and denying what her son is which is an abuser. Ive been there done that and its to bad that these “boys” havent grown up yet into men because their mama is still wiping their chin.

    • Brad

      Sleeping Beauty I agree with you totally and with Tim somewhat…I too have been through a divorce and it can be very depressing/hurtful/stressful & nasty ordeal…but no person should be abused by anyother person, male or femaile…we don’t know what either were (are) like behind closed doors and it seems to me that this comes down to a lack of respect for another person.

  • Lollipoop

    Tim, this monster brutally attacked her in front of a judge and multiple court officers. I don’t care what she said or did leading up to that incident – it is NEVER okay to lay your hands on another human being in anger. NEVER. And the fact that this wasn’t the first incident speaks volumes as to this guy’s character.

    I hope that Ms. Scott will now be able to heal from both her physical and emotional scars and that she will get help so that she doesn’t end up in another abusive relationship.

    • Brad

      Lollipoop, it would be interesting to know both of their backgrounds, normally an abused person becomes an abuser and a person who lived in an abused household will gravite to an abusive person. If that is her case, most likely she will be in another abusive relationship.

  • kj

    why does the media have to point out that he is a former marine? that has absolutely nothing to do with it. more importantly, i hope this young lady recovers physically and emotionally.

    • ThunderKitty

      Whatever occupation you have had for the majority of your adult life the media points it out. In every news post you read, they mention the job or employment field of the person the news account is about. If a person robs a conveinence store and they are a teacher, you will know.

  • Michael in Columbus

    Once an abuser, always an abuser. Having come from a violent home, he should rot in jail. Let him fight off Bubba and see how it feels to be abused yourself.

    • Brad

      That is not a true statement…if the abusvie person want to change and get intense long-term help he/she can change…it is uninformed people like you (with a very negitive attitude) that help to keep the cycle of abuse healthy…might want to get some help yourself…just saying.

  • richard l

    this guy is an animal. he needs to be locked up for aswhile,but if not for this, it will be for something else.
    unfortunately this young lady didnt wake up during the first few beatings….
    young men need to be taught to kind to ALL women.

  • Notgrandmafan

    His mother says his ex was manipulative, but even if she did complain about the money he wasted on computers, how can she defend her son for using his military skills to assault the ex busting her nose and her jaw. How does she explain that he can’t control himself and beats the mother of his children over child support issues. The kids will know why mom’s jaw was hurt because daddy did it. And he can’t they can’t see daddy because he is in jail. We all know he and his mother are going to blame the ex for him ending up there. If he is in jail and mother has no contact order, that his mother will sneak those innocent grandkids to see him in jail whereever he is. The ex better keep those kids away from her too. The Military makes many, many fine Marines. Did anyone check to see why he is no longer in the military. Maybe there is reason why the military no longer has him. I wish the Judge or attorney, or court officer has reached their arm out to grab his arm before the 2nd and 3rd punches were thrown. I think maybe there was slight hesitation for their own safety before they knew they had to help the unconscious woman. If the grandma had been in her place instead, I’d feel less stressed about it..

  • Jesse

    This guy makes me shudder. If he’s let out, she’ll be dead by dawn. This is a clear case of the need of some kind of witness protection. This guy is military trained and fully capable. God only knows what will happen to the next girl he gets involved with.

    • yokolee

      You can’t fear this type of men, just buy a gun, problem solve

  • Breezy

    If I read the first artical correctly, They were trying to discuss child support, he got up told the judge he was not going to pay child support and walked out, turning around and hitting his wife in the back of the head knocking her out then proceeded to hit her. I do not believe she had said anything. Besides, words no matter how delivered, cannot physically hurt anyone, and should never be answered with a physical attack period!

  • yokolee

    What a coward, I’m sure he didn’t even gave a bad look to a fellow soldier
    hope he gets the max.
    If you can’t control your lady leave her!

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