Two placed on probation in pizza shop bomb case

January 10, 1993|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Staff Writer

Two men who had pleaded guilty to detonating a pipe bomb outside a Bel Air pizza and deli shop were given suspended four-year jail sentences Friday in Harford Circuit Court.

Michael D. Kutcher, 25, and Phill J. Rowland, 36, both of Bel Air, were placed on two years of probation for reckless endangerment.

Each was ordered to serve 60 hours of community work and to pay $685 in restitution to the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Co.

Kutcher and Rowland were arrested after the July 31 explosion behind Gus's New York Deli and Pizza at 201 Gateway Drive.

No one was injured in the incident.

Rowland is the owner of the pizza and deli shop and Kutcher was the manager at that time.

Each defendant could have received up to five years in prison if convicted on the charges.

As stipulated in the plea agreement, Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Meadows did not prosecute the men on the additional charges of possession of a pipe bomb and possession of explosives without a license.

Investigators found two one-pound cans of gunpowder stored above the suspended ceiling in the kitchen.

"That's what the state really was concerned about," Mr. Meadows said.

"If a fire had started, there could have been a huge explosion and a lot of people hurt."

Judge Maurice W. Baldwin also cited the danger of having explosives in a public place, "especially a public place where fire is a strong possibility."

He rejected a request for probation before judgment from the defendants' attorney, Harold J. Tulley, of the Bel Air law firm of Tulley & Bays.

Mr. Tulley said Kutcher now works in the computer field and may need security clearance to do productive work for society. He said that would be difficult if Kutcher had a criminal record.

Judge Baldwin left that possibility open, inviting Kutcher and Rowland to file for a modification of their sentences within 90 days. That would enable the judge to grant them probation before judgment, erasing their criminal conviction.

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