Justin Daniel Goodwin

PROVO — A man who police say held a gun to his estranged wife's head and threatened to kill her in front of her 2-year-old son faces several charges, including attempted murder.

Justin Daniel Goodwin, 29, was arrested and booked Thursday on $50,000 cash-only bail and will appear for the first time in 4th District Court on Monday to face felony charges of attempted murder, aggravated burglary and domestic violence in the presence of a child.

The couple's short marriage has been punctuated by court orders and domestic violence charges. Police say Goodwin used a stolen key on Dec. 22 to break into the home he vacated when he and his wife, Karen, separated in November.

Karen Goodwin told police she awoke to the slaps and yells of an intoxicated Goodwin. He also tried to break her cell phone, according to her request for a protective order.

She doused him with pepper spray but that only angered him. She told police he then grabbed her and pushed her around the house, often pulling her by the ears.

The couple's 2-year-old son, Tyler, was awakened by the noise.

When the child spoke to him, Justin Goodwin pulled out a gun and started crying, Karen Goodwin wrote in her request for a temporary protective order, filed in 4th District Court.

He said he was going to kill his family and that she should call 911 because his son doesn't love him anymore, she wrote. He dialed the number and put the phone to her ear, instructing her to tell dispatch he was going to kill his family.

Karen Goodwin said she was too scared to speak and he hung up.

He called 911 back minutes later to tell dispatchers the call had been a mistake.

"I left the room and he followed me with the gun and put it to my neck," she wrote. She then told him, "I am not going to die like this in front of my son."

His demeanor instantly changed. He handed her the Glock and told her to kill him, she said. After Goodwin passed out, Karen Goodwin hid the gun. When he awoke, he reportedly acted like nothing had happened and gave his wife a kiss.

She asked him to leave, and he did.

Goodwin returned on Christmas Eve, grabbed Tyler and left, Karen Goodwin said. She said he also told her that "bad things would happen" to her if she didn't answer his phone calls.

Karen Goodwin called police Christmas Day. She told them she waited because she didn't think police would be able to help her, based on past incidents.

She had filed for a protective order in March 2004, a month after they married. In it, she said her husband became violent when he drank.

A 4th District Court judge denied the order, saying there wasn't enough evidence.

Goodwin was also charged in July 2004 with criminal mischief, domestic violence related, for reportedly destroying some of Karen Goodwin's property. The case was dismissed in November 2005 after Goodwin completed plea-in-abeyance requirements.

"If there's been a threat, and hasn't been any physical abuse, the court (may not) think there's a credible threat and not grant a protective order," said Karen Goodwin's attorney, Patti Abbott. "But it's hard because there are these occasional cases where it really escalates and tragic results can occur very quickly."

A temporary protective order is now in place. A hearing scheduled for Friday to make it permanent was postponed.

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