A South Florida former marine will spend 15 years in prison for viciously pummeling his wife in front of a judge during a divorce court hearing last spring.
Paul Gonzalez Jr., 29, had to be subdued with a stun gun after he attacked his wife, Catherine Scott, 23, choked her and repeatedly hit her in the face during an appearance in a Broward County judge’s chambers last April.
Authorities said Gonzalez was enraged that the judge had ordered him to pay child support. He pleaded no contest to a charge of aggravated battery.
Scott suffered a broken nose, a broken jaw, a torn lip, a concussion and severe bruises to her face and eyes in the attack.
At a sentencing hearing on Friday, a judge ignored Gonzalez’s apologies and shot down a defense psychologist’s argument that the former soldier should be spared a long sentence because he suffered from bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, CBS Miami reported.
“[The attack] was in a court of law where people for hundreds of years have been coming to peaceably resolve their disputes where people have an expectation of safety — certainly where your former wife thought she would be safe,” Judge Geoffrey Cohen said.
“You chose it as a place to viciously assault her,” he said.
During the hearing, Scott told the court that the attack left her face so badly disfigured that she was ashamed to go out in public.
“I couldn’t even go pick up my children from day care because there were complaints I was frightening the other children,” Scott said, according to CBS Miami.
Cohen’s stiff penalty was more than three times the four-year sentence that Gonzalez’s attorney’s requested and the state’s maximum sentence for aggravated battery.
Gonzalez apologized to his wife in court and said he regretted “destroying the chance” he had to be a good husband and a father.
“I hurt the woman I said I loved and I am sorry and I hope that one day she does forgive me,” he said.
“I was not a good husband. I wasn’t a good best friend.”