FBI Agents Association opposes Indiana Township woman's plea for reduced sentence in 2008 killing

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The FBI Agents Association, which represents more than 12,000 active and retired bureau members, today blasted a court motion filed by an Indiana Township woman in prison for killing an FBI agent who seeks a reduction in her nearly 16-year sentence.

Christina Korbe, 44, filed the motion on Friday in U.S. District Court asking Judge Terrence F. McVerry to reduce her sentence in light of what she called "a consistent, genuine effort to change her life for the better."

"On November 19, 2008 Christina Korbe opened fire on law enforcement officers while executing a federal search warrant associated with a drug distribution ring ... killing 33 year-old FBI Special Agent Sam Hicks," the FBI Agents Association statement said. "Agent Hicks, who had served with the FBI for 18 months and had previously served with the Baltimore, Maryland, Police Department for two years, was survived by his wife, Brooke, and two-year old son Noah.

"It's also important to remember that at her sentencing Korbe blamed the FBI and the government for her actions," the association statement continued. "As [agent] Hicks' wife, Brooke, said after the sentencing: 'I will be left with only words and pictures to try to convey to Noah how much his father loved him.'"

The association statement said that Korbe's sentence "pales in comparison to the consequences of her actions.

"Special Agents risk their lives to protect our country, and the loss of any Special Agent is devastating to families, communities, and our country," the association statement continued. "For justice to be served, Korbe should remain in prison and serve every single day of her sentence."

Korbe wrote in the motion that she has "maintained continuous employment" while imprisoned at the United States Penitentiary Hazelton in West Virginia and has "a clear disciplinary record."

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

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

Korbe pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the 2008 killing of Hicks.

Her defense 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.

She was ordered to pay $2.84 million in restitution from her future earnings to the Hicks family.

Judge McVerry has given U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton's office until Oct. 4 to respond to Korbe's motion.

The Korbe case "is of great importance to agents in our country," FBI Agents Association president Ray Tariche said in an interview.

Many agents consider Korbe's prison term of 15 years, 10 months "to be very, very, very light for the actions she had taken," he said. "On top of firing and killing agent Hicks, she also plead guilty to a drug conspiracy."

When agents nationally saw her motion, "our gut reaction was that we were actually shocked that she would even consider approaching the court to ask for less time in a case when an agent's life was taken by her hand."

In addition to helping members who are having economic difficulties and lobbying for pay and benefits, he said, the association has a charitable fund that provides college aid to the children of bureau members who died in the line of duty. He said 40 such children are getting college aid now, and another 70 who are not yet of college age are eligible.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.


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