Christina Korbe seeks reduction in sentence for killing FBI agent


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Five years into her 15-year, 10-month sentence for killing an FBI agent, Christina Korbe wants a reduction in her prison term due to what she called "a consistent, genuine effort to change her life for the better."

Legal experts said she was unlikely to get the break.

Korbe, 44, of Indiana Township wrote in her motion filed Friday that she "has maintained continuous employment" while imprisoned at the United States Penitentiary Hazelton in West Virginia and has "a clear disciplinary record."

While there, she got a General Educational Development certificate and completed a program to reduce the likelihood of re-offending, she wrote. She also wrote that she "maintained ongoing communication with her immediate and extended families."

She did not specify the amount of time off she seeks.

J. Alan Johnson, a former U.S. attorney and now a defense attorney with no tie to the case, said that Korbe would have to show good behavior that is "extraordinary, way out of the norm," to convince a judge to cut her sentence.

"It's not likely that a court would look on that favorably in light of the fact she's been in prison for only five years," he said. "It's necessary for a lot of factors to come together for that to happen anyway with this kind of charge."

It's not unusual for someone to get a sentence reduced for cooperating with law enforcement, but the kind of relief Korbe is requesting is rarer, he said.

Korbe filed the motion without the aid of an attorney.

She added that she "would like to address the court, to express remorse regarding her past criminal conduct, and state the reasons she deserves a chance to be released from prison early."

Korbe pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the 2008 killing of FBI Special Agent Sam Hicks. Her defense had argued that she may have been under the influence of cocaine, and may have thought she was protecting her children from criminals when she fired down the stairs of her home as agents breached the door in an early morning raid.

Her husband, Robert Korbe, arrested in the raid, is serving 25 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute more than 5 kilograms of crack cocaine.

Christina Korbe's plea bargain gave her credit for time served since the killing. There is no federal parole, but inmates can earn 54 days of sentence reduction per year of "good time" served.

Korbe also was ordered to pay $2.84 million in restitution to the Hicks family. In her motion, she claims to be "in compliance" with her payment plan.

U.S. Attorney David Hickton's office, which is scheduled to file a response to the motion by Oct. 4, declined comment.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord. First Published September 23, 2013 1:45 PM


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