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A Colorado Springs doctor was led away to jail in handcuffs Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to threatening his family with a shotgun.

On the brink of a jury trial, Dr. George A. MacDonald pleaded guilty to three felony counts of menacing against his children and one misdemeanor count of third-degree assault against his wife.

MacDonald faces up to one to three years in prison on the felony counts when he is sentenced later this year by 4th Judicial District Judge David S. Prince.

The case stems from a Nov. 9, 2008, incident at MacDonald’s home on a cul-de-sac off Mirage Drive. Colorado Springs police were called to the scene after MacDonald’s wife fled to a neighbor’s house saying she feared her husband was going to harm her.

Police said that when officers arrived they found the couple’s children – then ages 3, 7 and 12 - standing on the roof “cold and scared.”

The oldest child said she helped her siblings hide on the roof after their father had chased her and another child up the stairs with a shotgun.

The 7-year-old told officers, “Dad was going to murder us,” police said.

MacDonald’s wife told police that her husband had been drinking in the garage and became upset after a lawn mower broke. She said he forced her and the three children into a bedroom where he assaulted her. He then retrieved the shotgun from a gun safe and threatened the four of them, she said.

MacDonald had practiced family medicine with Colorado Springs Health Partners.

He had been free on a $10,000 bond, but after entering the plea, Deputy District Attorney Robert Harward argued that the law required that bail be revoked because the charge involved a deadly weapon.

The judge agreed and instructed MacDonald to wait in the jury box until a deputy arrived to escort him to the jail.

To accommodate the victims in the case, they will be able to speak to the judge Wednesday during the first phase of a two-part sentencing hearing. Prince will not impose the sentence until after the probation department report is completed in about eight weeks.

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However, the family no longer lives in Colorado Springs. Because they had travelled to be at the trial and would have to travel a second time, the judge agreed to hear their testimony while they were still in town.



For more court coverage, go to the Sidebar blog at Gazette.com