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Jeffrey McGee lies in a bed with his face covered as he is arraigned yesterday in Caritas Holy Family Hospital in Methuen. McGee was ordered held without bail after a not guilty plea was entered for him on charges of first degree murder in the stabbing death of his estranged wife, Christine.

METHUEN — In May 2003, Christine Ayotte told police in Lowell that she feared her boyfriend Jeffrey McGee, but she did not seek a restraining order against him. Eventually they got married.

Yesterday, McGee, 36, was arraigned in his room at Caritas Holy Family Hospital in Methuen on a charge that he murdered Christine McGee, 31, by slashing her throat last Tuesday morning.

McGee also faces a charge that he endangered the life of their 3-year-old son Gavin, who was in the car with him when he crashed head-on into a dump truck on Lowell Street in Methuen that same morning.

It was several hours after the car crash that police found Christine McGee’s body in his Chelmsford apartment.

Investigators examined the contents of the trunk of the car and found a silver knife with a black handle that appeared to have bloodstains on it.

During the hospital room arraignment yesterday, Lowell District Court Judge Steven Ostrach entered a not guilty plea and ordered McGee held without bail for a probable cause hearing Dec. 18.

According to a police report released yesterday, McGee told firefighters at the crash scene that he had cut and stabbed himself on the wrist and chest before he got in the car.

When asked if the crash had been an accident or “if he was trying to hurt himself,” McGee “nodded and stated ‘I was trying to do it,”’ the police report said.

McGee told rescue workers to get his son, who had been strapped in the front passenger seat of the 2006 Toyota Corolla, out of the car first.

Police said the force of the impact caused the boy to slide up out of the seat belt and strike his head on the windshield. The boy had no shoes, socks or jacket on in 20 to 30-degree weather.

The relationship between the McGees had violent tendencies going back to at least May 2003, before they were married, according to a police report filed in Lowell District Court.

At the time, Christine Ayotte said he “went into a rage” at their Weed Street apartment in Lowell, putting her in “great fear,” the report said.

An anonymous man called Lowell police on May 13, 2003, and said Christine Ayotte was his ex-girlfriend and she called him saying her new boyfriend of approximately one year — Jeffrey McGee — was “destroying” their home.

Police went to the apartment, and she told an officer that McGee became “extremely upset” because she found him “drinking at a bar the day before” and “that he lied.” She said McGee yelled, cursed and destroyed her entertainment center, a television and a wooden table, the report said.

The report said she was in “great fear of Mr. McGee,” but she “stated repeatedly that she does not want to pursue any charges” against him.

“Ms. Ayotte also stated that she still loves Mr. McGee, but just wants him out of her life,” the officer wrote.

The officer advised her about her right to get a restraining order and “she seemed very reluctant,” the report said.

The Lowell police report said she was not physically harmed during the incident. Police charged Jeffrey McGee with assault and malicious destruction of property over $250. The charges were dismissed on July 25, 2003, according to court documents.

Yesterday, in a related matter, Methuen police obtained arrest warrants for McGee in connection with Tuesday’s crash charging him with attempted murder, child endangerment, assault and battery on his son, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on the driver of the dump truck.

McGee was notified of the warrants but was not arraigned on those charges yesterday, police said.

During yesterday’s arraignment, Judge Ostrach allowed only one photographer into the hospital room. But he then told the photographer to stop taking pictures of McGee, because McGee didn’t want his son to see his picture in the newspapers.

The pictures the photographer was able to take showed McGee, his face covered with a towel and forearms heavily bandaged, reclining in his hospital bed, covered with a blanket.

The state Department of Social Services has since taken custody of the boy.

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