Antiques Thief To Ask Sentence Be Reduced

March 08, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff writer

The Baltimore man who is serving seven years in state prison for hispart in the largest theft from a Carroll residence will ask Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold tomorrow to have his sentence reduced.

"I will do the time meted out to me, yet I would ask you to consider suspending two years of my seven-year sentence," wrote Byron P. Pantazonis in a hand-written letter to the judge. "I suffer. My family suffers.

"I want a better chance to make something of my life. Please, Judge Arnold, there is more good in me than my record shows."

Pantazonis was convicted by a Carroll jury last May of one count of nighttime burglary with intent to steal and one count of felony theft for joining his girlfriend -- convicted murderer Julie R. Wilt -- in a three-month scheme to steal $260,000 worth of antiques from the Westminster home of Emily Fink.

Arnold sentenced Pantazonis in July, giving him a 12-year sentence with five years suspended.

"I regret my folly, the pain it has caused the Fink family, their fear and sense of violation," Pantazonis said in his letter to the judge.

Wilt, formerly of Carroll County, was found guilty of theft charges last April in connection with the stealing of more than $19,000 worth of furniture from Westminster Antiques on Springs Mill Road.

That theft was part of a scheme she developed with Pantazonis, court records say.

She was given the chance to erase that conviction if she completed five years of probation.

The theft occurred while Wilt was on parolefor the 1984 shooting death of her husband, Timothy Jules Wilt. She was given a 20-year suspended sentence in the shooting.

The theft conviction -- which violated the terms of her parole -- could have forced her to serve the remainder of her murder sentence. The state parole board allowed her to remain out of jail on parole.

Wilt wrote to Arnold on Pantazonis' behalf before the judge sentenced him in July.

"Byron is too good a man, too worthy a person to be put away yet again," she wrote. "Please, sir, I ask you as the person who did the crime to please give Byron the opportunity to . . . show the court and the community what he can do that is productive and positive instead of wasting what he is with further incarceration."

She and Pantazonis met through a prison pen-pal program.

Pantazonis -- serving time at the Eastern Correctional Facility in Weston -- has a long history of drug abuse and criminal convictions.

"The evaluation of Byron indicated an . . . inability to be a responsible member of society as evidenced by his reported abuse of heroin and cocaine," an admissions counselor to a Bethesda-based treatment program wrote to Arnold. "Byron's irresponsible lifestyle is further revealed by his poor employment and parole history."

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