On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Gloucester County, FV-08-161-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted August 29, 2007
Before Judges A. A. Rodríguez and Parrillo.
Defendant Dean A. Ambrose (ex-husband), appeals from the September 14, 2006 Final Restraining Order (FRO) granted pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35, finding him guilty of making terroristic threats towards Lenora Ambrose (ex-wife). N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3. We affirm.
These are the salient facts. The parties were divorced in June 2004 after twenty-one years of marriage. They had three children, ranging in ages from sixteen to twenty years old. Ex-husband is a physician, who is board certified in family medicine. In his brief, ex-husband concedes that "currently [his] license to practice medicine is suspended due to problems associated with the use of pain medication after [he] fractured his shoulder." He stated that his license was scheduled to be reinstated "on or about November 1, 2006."
Ex-wife is a healthcare worker. At the time the FRO was granted, she had become engaged to Paul Simonin. Ex-wife testified that on August 3, 2006, her ex-husband called her around 11:45 p.m. First, he congratulated her on the engagement. Then, he became hostile and said:
"If he f-ing touches you or the children, I will kill him and you, and they'll never find the bodies."
Ex-wife immediately hung up the telephone. A few minutes later, she received a text message from ex-husband's cell phone. The text message read:
"I don't make idle threats, so this mother fucker better watch his ass or you will be reporting a missing person, you'll never find [him] except maybe in an Alpo can. Don't fuck with me. Look up Jimmy DeJulio if you think I'm fucking with you. He'll have as much chance as a snowball in hell."
Ex-wife also testified about prior incidents of domestic violence committed by her ex-husband during the course of their relationship.
During ex-husband's testimony, he conceded that he made the telephone call, but denied that he made any threats. He also conceded sending a text message that evening, but denied that it was the same message that was shown to the judge in court. According to ex-husband, he learned that Simonin had recently "physically corrected" the parties' youngest son. He testified that the purpose of his call was to make his ex-wife aware of this and to object. Finally, he minimized the existence of a history of domestic violence with his ex-wife.
Judge Colleen A. Maier found ex-wife's testimony credible and that ex-husband had uttered terroristic threats ...