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Derby man gets three years for burglary, assaulting dog

January 7, 2019 GMT

MILFORD — A judge Monday sentenced a Derby man to serve three years in prison for wounding a dog trying to defend its owner during a robbery.

Sheneal Thompson, 23, had pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, maliciously wounding an animal, third-degree assault and second-degree criminal mischief Oct. 22, 2018 before Judge Peter Brown.

According to an arrest warrant, Thompson and his brother, 19-year-old Frank Harris, broke into a home on Derby’s Hawkins Street the afternoon of Dec. 1, 2017.

The owner of the home said he was watching TV with a friend when the pair knocked on the back door, then rushed into the living room yelling “Give it up! Give it up!”

Thompson was holding a large kitchen knife in his hand and Harris was holding a hammer.

The man said he didn’t know what they were looking for, but that Thompson and Harris attacked him and pushed him into a TV stand before Harris hit the victim’s friend in the head with the hammer.

The friend was able to grab the hammer from Harris, at which point Harris picked up a vacuum cleaner and hit the man over the back with it.

Then the homeowner’s dog, a mastiff mix named Junior, went after Thompson while trying to protect its owner, at which point Thompson cut it on the head.

None of the victims were transported from the scene for medical treatment.

The two suspects then left the home after taking the victim’s cell phone and causing about $1,000 in damage, but were identified by the victims and spotted by witnesses running from the scene.

In court Monday, Assistant State’s Attorney Amy Bepko said she was unable to contact the victims in the case.

A plea deal called for Thompson to receive an eight-year prison sentence to be suspended after he serves three years behind bars, to be followed by five years of probation.

Neither Thompson nor his lawyer, Peter Tsimbidaros, spoke during Monday’s sentencing. The judge called the sentence in the case “appropriate.”

According to court records, Harris pleaded guilty Nov. 15, 2018 to first-degree burglary, second-degree assault and second-degree criminal mischief. A plea deal in his case calls for a nine-year prison sentenced to be suspended after four years when he is sentenced Jan. 24.

Both men have been behind bars since their arrest in the case March 11, 2018.