Pair who snatched exotic monkey from Arundel home are sentenced


News from around the Baltimore region

July 29, 2005|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Nearly six months after she was briefly snatched from her Glen Burnie home in a midday break-in, Janey still clutches a teddy bear for comfort - and yesterday the man charged with the crime was sentenced to five years in prison.

"You essentially took a member of that family," Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Michele Dane Jaklitsch told Kenneth M. King, 25, who pleaded guilty to burglary in the incident.

But Janey is no ordinary family member - she is a white-throated capuchin monkey worth $7,000.

Brian and Michelle Howard, Janey's owners, said outside the courtroom that their monkey has remained fearful since she was returned to them two days after the Feb. 2 break-in.

"She's very clingy," said Brian Howard, who bought the exotic pet as a Christmas gift for his wife.

It's not the first time a monkey was at the center of a legal drama in Glen Burnie.

Five years ago, a couple and their pet monkey made news when the couple waged a costly battle to try to keep their macaque, which was accused of biting several people and touching off a barroom brawl. County animal control officers sent the monkey to a wildlife refuge.

In yesterday's case, Assistant State's Attorney David P. Ash said King and his long-term girlfriend, Wendy M. Ward, 30, were enchanted by Janey when they went to the Howards' house. King stole the 3-pound pet because he liked it, and Ward covered for him, Ash said.

Janey was holding her teddy bear when police found the caged monkey in an upstairs bedroom of King and Ward's home, the Howards said.

"She couldn't handle that cage anymore," Michelle Howard said, so the couple moved Janey in with Nikki, their 8-year-old black wedge-cap capuchin.

The Howards' son, Brian Jr., then 8, was so distraught after the break-in that "we couldn't get him to sleep in his own bed for two weeks because he was afraid that these people would come back," Howard said.

In court yesterday, Ward and King apologized to the Howards as Perry W. Lericos, their attorney, sought leniency.

Lericos detailed King's troubled childhood, which included stealing, and his ensuing problems and need for rehabilitation. He said a big concern was that Ward not be jailed so that she could care for the couple's 10-year-old daughter.

The judge sentenced King to eight years, suspending three years, and ordered five years of supervised probation.

Ward received a one-year suspended sentence and three years of supervised probation. The couple were ordered to pay $2,500 to the Howards for repairs resulting from the break-in.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.