Anne Arundel man pleads guilty to strangling his live-in girlfriend

July 22, 2004|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

The live-in boyfriend of a Millersville woman admitted yesterday in court that he killed her only weeks after he was placed on probation for an earlier attack on her.

Robert Charles Antonelli, 38, pleaded guilty before Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Paul A. Hackner to second-degree murder in the Feb. 2 strangulation of his girlfriend, Nancy Susan Kreamer.

Kreamer wrote in September in court papers that Antonelli "choked me to unconsciousness." But soon after, she sought dismissal of the peace order against him. She posted bond for his release from jail to await trial on the charges that he assaulted her. She wanted him to get treatment and let him move back in with her, according to court documents.

Placed on three years of supervised probation Jan. 8 for that attack, Antonelli later strangled Kreamer with his hands.

Assistant State's Attorney Frederick Paone said he will seek a 30-year prison term - the maximum - when Antonelli is sentenced Oct. 13.

However, sentencing guidelines call for 15 to 25 years, said David Harding, the assistant public defender representing Antonelli. He said he will seek a mental health evaluation for Antonelli, who told the judge that he has been hospitalized for symptoms of bipolar disorder and takes medications.

Yesterday's brief hearing was punctuated by sharp emotion.

"How do you like her now, Robert?" Sharon Dotson, the victim's sister shrieked at Antonelli, raising high a gold-colored container of Kreamer's ashes as a deputy sheriff brought him into the courtroom.

Dotson, her daughter and a friend wept as Kreamer's violent death and Antonelli's arrest were described in court. Dotson later said Kreamer was the second sister she lost to domestic violence.

Ideally, she said outside the courtroom, she would like no parole for Antonelli, but said she understood he is likely to serve less than his sentence.

Dotson said her sister, who held two jobs, was a loving and trusting person who had grown afraid of Antonelli.

"I'm having dreams about her wanting me to forgive him, that he was just sick," Dotson said .

On Feb. 1, Kreamer, 44, had told Antonelli that their relationship was over because of his excessive drinking, Paone said. Dotson, who had moved in with the couple in December amid worry over her sister's safety, left for work Feb. 2 and made her usual 4:50 a.m. call to make sure Kreamer was awake for work. An hour later, witnesses reported seeing Antonelli get into Kreamer's red Oldsmobile.

The next day, as police tracking Kreamer's cell phone and automated teller machine card use placed Antonelli in North Carolina, he turned himself in, saying he needed help. He told investigators that he remembered arguing with Kreamer the night of Feb. 1, but not strangling her, Paone said.

Harding disputed some of Paone's statements, among them saying that why Dotson moved in with the couple "was up for grabs."

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