A south suburban man who called 911 and said his wife had fallen was charged with her murder after police found a bloody table leg near her body and a pathologist ruled her death a homicide caused by blunt force trauma, prosecutors said.

Mary Hayden, 42, was trying to divorce her husband, Taft Hayden Jr., 47, before she died in their Country Club Hills home Sunday morning, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Camilo Oceguera said. In front of a courtroom full of the defendant’s family on Wednesday, Judge Laura M. Sullivan ordered Hayden held on $600,000 bond.

His attorney, David F. Will, said the facts will show the the woman didn’t die by a violent act.

The defendant’s family members declined to comment as they left the courthouse together.
Shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday, Taft Hayden Jr. called 911 and said his wife had fallen and wasn’t breathing, Oceguera said.

The couple's two children, ages 10 and 8-1/2, were at home at the time police were called, prosecutors said.

Paramedics found her lying naked on the floor, cold to the touch, with her left eye swollen shut, prosecutors said. She was surrounded by shattered glass, and the broken leg of a glass table lay on the floor near her neck, Oceguera said. The table leg had blood on it, prosecutors said, and police also found blood on a washing machine and in a bedroom.

A pathologist determined her injuries weren’t consistent with the reported fall and found multiple fractures in different areas of her skull, prosecutors said.

Country Club Hills police said in a statement that the home “had been the location of numerous calls of domestic disturbances.” He was charged with domestic battery in May 2008 but prosecutors dropped the charge, according to Cook County court records. The wife had filed for divorce, prosecutors said.

dhinkel@tribune.com