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Date of Issue: May 21, 2008

One suspect pleads not guilty in Cramer home invasion

Home invasion suspect Christoper Drescher has entered a not guilty plea in connection with the April 17 Anna Maria incident in which former Anna Maria City Commissioner Linda Cramer was beaten and robbed at the home of boyfriend Joe Pandolph of Crescent Drive.

Drescher also demanded a trial by jury, according to available online court records.

The second suspect in the case, Michael Gambuzza, had not yet entered a plea as of The Islander’s press deadline.

Gambuzza’s court-appointed attorney, Tom Fielding, submitted a motion to resign from the case just one day after he was appointed Gambuzza’s defense counsel, which delayed his arraignment.

The two suspects were arrested May 3 and charged with home invasion with robbery, a first-degree felony, and false imprisonment, a third-degree offense.

The home invasion charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years upon conviction, while a guilty verdict for false imprisonment could bring up to 10 years jail time.

According to the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court Web site, neither of the two men have met bail and both are still in the Manatee County jail.

Formal arraignment on the charges is set for 10:30 a.m. June 6 at the courthouse.

Cramer received multiple facial bruises in the incident when she struggled with her attackers, but was otherwise uninjured. She was tied up and beaten by the two men before they ransacked Pandolph’s home, and threatened Cramer not to call police.

Cramer was scheduled to give a statement to prosecutors Friday, May 16.

Sgt. John Kenney of the Anna Maria MCSO substation and other MCSO deputies and detectives worked with forensic evidence and some leads on the suspects to make the arrest.