SANTA FE, N.M. — The Santa Fe artist charged last weekend with assaulting her boyfriend in what a deputy’s report describes as a bizarre argument over space aliens says she was the victim in the case.
A recording of the 911 call from a house on Aventura Road shows that it was artist Jennifer McCarthy who made the call that resulted in her own arrest.
In a statement posted on her Facebook page, Jennifer McCarthy says she called 911 “after having been choked, pushed to the floor and hit in the face by a drunken Mark Paleologo on Saturday morning following a silly argument the evening before.”
In Paleologo’s version, as recounted in a deputy’s report, McCarthy used a gun as a sex toy, asked him, “Who is crazy, you or me?” then pulled the gun from her private parts and pointed it at Paleologo’s head. Paleologo, described on websites as a poet, novelist and songwriter from New Jersey, is quoted by the deputy as saying the argument was over space aliens.
The recording of McCarthy’s 911 call released by her attorney Mark Donatelli shows that, as the emergency dispatcher pressed her for details, McCarthy asked to “drop the whole thing” and said the situation had calmed down.
In her statement Thursday, McCarthy said, “My call to 911 obviously de-escalated the situation and at that point I thought the matter was resolved and did not require further law enforcement attention. Consequently, I tried to protect Mr. Paleologo and minimized the attack to the officer.”
The deputy’s report from Saturday quotes McCarthy as saying Paleologo grabbed her throat briefly but that she wasn’t afraid of being strangled.
McCarthy, 48, is the ex-wife of best-selling author Cormac McCarthy. She is charged with aggravated assault on a household member, a charge Donatelli said he would vigorously defend. Because of the connection to her famous ex-husband and the salacious details in the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office report, the story has been posted on websites around the world.
“Unfortunately, Mark’s preposterous version of events was repeated in the (court) complaint and resulted in my arrest, and the sensationalization of Mr. Paleologo’s fabrication has spread throughout the media everywhere, not only affecting me but my family as well,” McCarthy said in her statement.
“At no time did I point a gun at Mr. Paleologo. At no time did I place a gun or any weapon anywhere in my body,” she wrote.
Efforts this week by the Journal to reach Paleologo, 53, have been unsuccessful. He has Facebook pages under two identities – Mark Paleologo and Marci Payne.
On the recording of the 911 call, a whispering voice that sounds like a man can be heard saying “please stop, please stop” at the beginning of McCarthy’s four-minute conversation with the dispatcher.
“I just got assaulted,” McCarthy calmly says. She says she does not need an ambulance. “I got strangled and slapped across the face,” she says.
When she says she was in an argument with her boyfriend, the male voice, now in the background, says, “And shoved a gun up your (expletive).”
The dispatcher asks if drugs or alcohol were involved. “Yes, alcohol, alcohol,” McCarthy answers. She tells the dispatcher there is a gun in the home, “there’s no ammo though” and that she is not sure where the weapon is.
As the conversation continues, the male voice repeatedly tells McCarthy to tell the dispatcher about the gun and where she’d stuck it in her body and then pointed it at his face. McCarthy says she didn’t point the gun at his face and calls him a liar.
The dispatcher asks about the location of the gun. “I don’t know; I think it got thrown out in the desert,” McCarthy says.
The deputy who responded to the 911 call found a silver Smith and Wesson pistol in an outside garbage can, where Paleologo told the deputy he put it after taking it from McCarthy.
McCarthy, on the 911 recording, eventually decides she does not want a deputy to respond.”I think I am going to drop the whole thing, if that’s alright?” she says. But the dispatcher says a deputy needs to respond to document the incident. The dispatcher asks for the boyfriend’s name and McCarthy says it’s Eric Jones.
In her Thursday statement, McCarthy said, “Mr. Paleologo never denied the allegations even though he talked to the dispatcher at the same time I did.
“By the time the police arrived, Mr. Paleologo had settled down and I told them almost nothing of what I had already described to the 911 dispatcher. My call to 911 obviously de-escalated the situation and at that point I thought the matter was resolved and did not require further law enforcement attention.”