Composed but clearly anguished, the estranged wife of former Baltimore Raven Michael C. McCrary told a judge Monday that he has become increasingly violent and verbally abusive, at one point punching a hole in a wall next to her head.
"I don't want him near me," Mary Haley McCrary, 40, married to the retired defensive end since 2005, told the judge. "I don't want him near my daughter," referring to their 6-year-old child.
Judge Jan Marshall Alexander of Baltimore County District Court granted the woman's request for a temporary protective order that bars the 6-foot-4-inch, 270-pound former Pro Bowler and defensive end from the couple's home in Timonium. Michael McCrary may not have contact with his wife until another court hearing next week and must surrender the three firearms his wife says he owns.
The judge also barred McCrary - who filed for divorce in August - from a house in Vienna, Va., where his wife has been staying, and from her mother's home in Strasburg, Va.
Because it was an ex parte hearing - whereby victims of alleged abuse can ask for protection without the defendant being present - Michael McCrary did not appear in court Monday morning. He will have an opportunity to address a judge at next week's hearing, which will take up the possibility of more permanent restraints.
According to court documents, McCrary, who retired from football in 2002, has been living since August at Silo Point on the Baltimore waterfront.
His lawyer, Bonnie Butler, said that her 39-year-old client "has been amicably attempting to resolve this matter."
Butler said McCrary "vehemently denies" any allegation of behavior that would cause his wife "to fear for her safety, for her child's safety or any third party" - the latter a reference to Angela Birch, the girl's nanny, who also claimed to be afraid of him.
Butler said her client "intends to respond according to [Mary McCrary's] allegations."
After hearing the woman's sworn testimony, the judge agreed that she had been "placed in fear" by McCrary's behavior, which his wife said included brandishing a pistol during an argument and tossing a 45-pound metal kitchen stool at her. She also said her husband suffers from depression, is addicted to painkilling drugs and "smokes marijuana on a regular basis."
Mary McCrary said her husband had barged into their house and rifled through her desk long after their separation - " 'No judge has told me I can't come in,' " she quoted him as saying - and dared her to " 'go ahead and try to stop me.' "
"He can dominate me without even trying," she said in court. "I can't engage him in a fistfight."
She said that shortly before Thanksgiving, they had an argument over his drug use. "I wasn't going to stand by and watch him kill himself," she said. It was then that he punched a hole in the wall, she said.
Shortly afterward, he fetched his .38-caliber handgun, sat on the couch and "just looked at me and laughed," Mary McCrary said. When she threatened to call the police, he put the gun away.
"I called my girlfriend and she said, 'Get out of the house,' " McCrary recalled. " 'He's going to kill you.' "