Bel Air man pleads guilty to break-in Defendant, lawyer targeted spouse


BEL AIR -- A Bel Air man pleaded guilty yesterday to breaking into his estranged wife's home twice -- once with his lawyer, who killed the family's 7-month-old kitten in a microwave oven.

Harford Circuit Judge William O. Carr sentenced Thomas Sanders, 37, to two years in jail on two counts of breaking and entering. Judge Carr suspended the jail sentence, but also gave Sanders 18 months' probation, ordered him to perform 40 hours of community service and levied a $500 fine plus $167 in court costs.

Harford Deputy State's Attorney Jay E. Robinson told Judge Carr that Nancy Anderson Sanders had returned home with her two children Oct. 14 to find their house broken into and the family's kitten, Max, "dead and wet on the kitchen floor."

Mr. Robinson said Thomas Sanders had entered her house alone on Oct. 12 and on Oct. 13 with Stanley E. Protokowicz, who at one time had represented Sanders in his divorce.

Protokowicz, a partner in the Bel Air law firm of Miller, Fry, Protokowicz and Birch, pleaded guilty Jan. 17 to breaking and entering and cruelty to animals.

At his hearing, Protokowicz said the two men had been intoxicated when they broke into the house. Protokowicz admitted in court that he put the cat in the microwave because it was underfoot, but said that he accidentally turned the oven on while looking for the stove light.

Protokowicz was given a 15-month suspended jail sentence and 18 months' probation. He also was ordered to perform 40 hours of community service and fined $1,500.

He is under investigation by the state Attorney Grievance Commission as a result of a complaint filed by Nancy Anderson Sanders.

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