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Man pleads, is sentenced in cat deaths

November 14, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - A 22-year-old man pleaded guilty Monday in Washington County Circuit Court to aggravated animal cruelty in connection with the burning deaths of four kittens in July.

Robert Lynn Tomlin, formerly of Smithsburg, was ordered by Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell to serve 18 months in jail on the charge. McDowell suspended that sentence except for the 134 days Tomlin had served since his arrest.

"Taking defenseless animals as you have and destroying them ... There is no excuse for that," McDowell told Tomlin.

McDowell ordered Tomlin to have "no contact with animals or pets" during an ordered three years of probation.

McDowell ordered Tomlin to have a mental health evaluation and a substance abuse evaluation, among standard conditions.

Tomlin's ex-girlfriend and owner of the dead kittens, Kelli Ann Green, left the courtroom and burst into tears after Tomlin was sentenced.

Tomlin struck her and threw four of her kittens into a fire pit July 2, Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Robert Veil said.

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When a Washington County Sheriff's Department deputy arrived at 10917 Crystal Falls Drive in response to a domestic violence call, he found Green with "blood on her right ear," Veil said.

Tomlin was drinking and the couple got into an argument, Veil said.

When Green ran next door, she saw Tomlin standing over a fire pit and she knew that her four 1-week-old kittens had been killed, Veil said.

"When she returned to the residence, she heard a hissing in the fire," he said. "There appeared to be a corpse of a small kitten in the fire."

Tomlin's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Carl Creeden, said Green recanted her statement to police in a letter dated Aug. 3, which Veil acknowledged.

Green told McDowell, "The only reason I wrote that letter is because he kept calling me."

She said she still has problems with her ear.

"He also told me he should have finished what he started," she said.

Tomlin told McDowell, "I committed a horrible crime, sir ... You will never see me in this court again."

He said he was planning to move to Hagerstown.

McDowell ordered that he have no contact with Green or her family.

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