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Ex-Marine Who Attacked Wife In Court Changes Plea

FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A former Marine charged with attacking his estranged wife last year during a divorce proceeding entered a change of plea during a hearing Monday morning.

Paul Gonzalez, who is being held without bond, changed his plea to no contest. The judge then sent a sentencing date of February 22nd.

During the hearing Gonzalez's ex-wife, Catherine Scott, asked for the maximum sentence.

Gonzalez is facing four to 15 years in prison for the aggravated battery charge and up to a year for resisting arrest without violence, a misdemeanor.

During a hearing last June, Scott said she remembers nothing of the attack on April 15th in chambers of Judge Ronald Rothschild. 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 was 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 Gonzalez began to abuse her just months after the couple met in 2004. She told the judge about a time she tried to leave Gonzalez.

"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.

Scott said she had called the police on numerous occasions to report Gonzalez yet he was never arrested. She added that she tried to get a restraining order against him prior to the attack but it was denied.

Gonzalez currently has two restraining orders against him; one for Scott, the other for the couple's children.

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