Bel Air attorney accused of break-in, killing kitten


January 17, 1992|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Evening Sun Staff

An Evening Sun story Friday on a Bel Air attorney charged and convicted of killing a family kitten by putting it in a microwave oven had the incorrect first name for the attorney. He is Stanley E. Protokowicz.

The Evening Sun regrets the errors.

A Bel Air attorney was scheduled to appear in Harford Circuit Court today on charges that he helped a client break into the home of the client's estranged wife and, while the client was in another room, killed the family kitten by zapping it in a microwave oven.

Attorney Stephen E. Protokowicz Jr. was charged Tuesday in a criminal information with one count of breaking and entering and one count of cruelty to animals, according to Jay E. Robinson, a Harford County assistant state's attorney.


Thomas Sanders, identified as Protokowicz's client, was charged with two counts of breaking and entering in connection with the cat incident, which occurred on Oct. 13, and another break-in the previous day, Robinson said. Sanders is to be tried separately.

Because Protokowicz frequently argues cases before Harford County judges, today's hearing was assigned to Judge Barbara Kerr Howe of the Baltimore County Circuit Court.

If convicted, Protokowicz would face a maximum penalty of three years in jail and a $500 fine on the breaking and entering charge and 90 days in jail and $1,000 fine on the cruelty charge.

Joseph I. Cassilly, the Harford County state's attorney, said his office began investigating the case after Sanders' estranged wife, Nancy Anderson Sanders, reported the Oct. 13 break-in to the county sheriff's office.

Nancy Sanders also filed a complaint against Protokowicz with the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission on Dec. 14.

In the grievance, a copy of which was obtained by The Evening Sun, Nancy Anderson Sanders said that she and Thomas Sanders separated in April 1991 and that she and the children moved into a new home.

The complaint accused Thomas Sanders and Protokowicz -- who represented Thomas Sanders in some of the couple's divorce proceedings -- of breaking into the home. Nancy Sanders and the children were away at the time.

The complaint alleged that Protokowicz "placed the kitten in the microwave oven. At some point he turned on the microwave with Max, the kitten, still inside."

After returning home, the family found the 7-month-old kitten dead on the kitchen floor with "champagne poured on it," according to the complaint.

At first, Nancy Sanders said in the complaint, the family thought Max had been poisoned.

"It was not until Friday, Oct. 18, 1991, that I discovered my microwave interior was covered with cat hair," she stated in the complaint.

She also alleged that $6,000 worth of jewelry was taken.

Protokowicz is a partner with the firm of Miller, Fry, Protokowicz and Birch in Bel Air.

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