Former Raven McCrary's wife withdraws protection petition

Case involving claims that ex-football player was violent dismissed

March 16, 2010|By Nick Madigan | nick.madigan@baltsun.com

After an emotionally wrought court hearing that lasted almost all day, the wife of former Baltimore Raven Michael C. McCrary withdrew her petition Monday for permanent protection from her husband, who she had alleged was violent, threatening and abusive.

In hurried negotiations during a break in the proceedings in Baltimore County Circuit Court, lawyers for Mary Haley McCrary and the ex-defensive end agreed that the case would be dismissed as long as their clients vowed to have no contact with each other except to deal with logistical matters concerning the care of their 6-year-old daughter. The girl's custody ultimately will be decided with other matters in the McCrarys' pending divorce case.

William H. Murphy Jr., an attorney representing Michael McCrary, cast the outcome as a victory for his client. "Michael is vindicated," he said after the hearing. "These allegations should be buried in the dustbin of history."

Mary McCrary and her two lawyers declined to comment. She was granted a temporary protective order March 8 after alleging that she feared the 6-foot-4-inch, 270-pound former Pro Bowler, who retired from football in 2002.

She said that, among other acts, he had punched a hole in a bathroom wall next to her head, brandished a pistol during an argument while their daughter slept a few feet away and tossed a kitchen stool at her. On one occasion, she said from the witness stand Monday, he pushed her around after showing up at the house in Timonium uninvited, months after he had moved out. The two have been living apart since August.

She said her husband, to whom she has been married since 2005, was "on a plethora of prescription drugs that he used in conjunction with alcohol" and "smoked pot every night."

When they still lived together, she said, "I would check his pulse at night" to see if he was alive because she did not want to "have to explain to my daughter what happened" if he were to die of an overdose.

Around Thanksgiving, when he sat at the foot of his daughter's bed with a pistol in his hand, "I didn't know if he was going to shoot me or shoot himself," Mary McCrary said, tears falling down her face. She recalled closing her eyes and slowly turning to leave the room. "I didn't know if he was going to shoot me in the back," she went on, dissolving into sobs.

With that, Judge Robert N. Dugan declared a recess so that the witness could compose herself.

Rather than specifically refute her charges, the former football player's lawyer proceeded to show during his cross-examination that most of the couple's interactions in the past few weeks have been relatively normal and free of fear.

Grasping printed transcripts of the couple's text-message exchanges, Murphy brought up several examples of his client's apparent concern for his estranged wife, particularly surrounding the recent death of her 16-year-old Labrador, Duchess.

"She could not have had a better mother," Michael McCrary wrote to his wife in a text message. "She's in a better place."

"My heart is breaking," his wife responded to one such message.

Murphy then quoted a text message from his client in which he suggested that the couple settle the divorce proceedings amicably. "Michael wanted to settle everything with you," Murphy said.

"I also remember him offering to settle 1,000 different times," Mary McCrary countered.

She said her 39-year-old husband had allowed their home on Timonium's Timberpark Court "to go into foreclosure" and that she had moved out last week after finding a new home in Virginia, where she intends to enroll her daughter in school.

When challenged as to what she had removed from the Timonium house, she said, "I took everything I needed. Mike had taken all the cars. I didn't take his trophies. I took the home theater, but I left three TV sets and two stereo systems." She said also that she had taken appliances and furniture, but that her husband "took our savings."

Mary McCrary, 40, acknowledged that she had been dating a man who lives in Virginia, as well as "several" others since her separation from the football player.

With that, the judge recessed the hearing again, advising the witness to seek counsel from her attorney, Laura Burrows, as to the implications of admitting to adultery, a misdemeanor punishable in Maryland by a $10 fine. It was during the break that the two sides came to an agreement dismissing the case.

Before he left the courtroom, the former football player approached a reporter with a brief statement: "I never did any of the things that she said, and I'm just glad it's over."

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