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Kalinowski gets 25 years to life Maximum sentence imposed in slaying of sleeping husband

Robin Wagner Kalinowski, the Riverside woman who shot her husband to death as he lay sleeping, was sentenced Wednesday to spend the next 25 years to life in prison.

Kalinowski's two young sons and her mother were among those present in the packed courtroom when Senior Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico imposed the maximum sentence for "intentional murder." Her husband's mother and other relatives also were present.

Kalinowski, 43, spoke only once, to lash out at her brother-in-law as he denounced her.

"Liar!" Kalinowski yelled out as Kenneth Kalinowski told the judge that three years ago her own relatives had said they doubted that she had shot her husband accidentally.

As Kenneth Kalinowski completed his lengthy address to the judge, he noted that his brother, whose "passion" was his two sons, was such an important part of youth baseball programs in the city's Riverside section that a ball diamond at Riverside Park is now named in his memory.

Kenneth Kalinowski said before his death that his brother had confided that "one day you will know the hell that is my life" with Robin Kalinowski.

He said his late brother had borrowed money to hire a lawyer and pay back Robin Kalinowski's former employer $20,000 she embezzled eight years ago "to keep her out of jail." Kenneth Kalinowski also told the judge that his late brother had found out about Robin Kalinowski's 2005 affair with another man and had been planning to leave her with their two boys. And he spoke about how "evil" he found his estranged sister-in-law to be.

At that point, Robin Kalinowski yelled out, "You liar!"

Kenneth Kalinowski continued and asked the judge to impose a prison term that reflects "the same leniency that she gave my brother."

Defense attorney John K. Jordan told the judge that the murder victim's brother "is entitled to his opinion" but insisted that Robin Kalinowski is remorseful.

"Robin did, in fact, cause her husband's death, and she will have to live with that the rest of her life," Jordan said.

But the defense attorney stressed that his client "continues to maintain this was an accidental shooting" caused by her carelessly removing the loaded .22-caliber rifle she insists her husband had brought onto the bed.

Jordan has already begun an appeal of the Jan. 14 verdict of second-degree murder.

In September, a jury was unable to reach the required unanimous verdict for the murder conviction. But the jury at the second trial took only three hours before finding Kalinowski guilty of intentionally shooting her husband of 15 years Nov. 10, 2005, in their Rosedale Street home.

Kalinowski wept silently as she was taken from the courtroom.

Dr. James T. Woytash, Erie County's chief medical examiner, testified during both jury trials that, based on autopsy and skin samples, he determined that the muzzle of the rifle that killed Kevin Kalinowski was pressed against the back of his skull when it was fired.

After the sentencing, Jane Kalinowski, 74, the widowed mother of the murder victim, hugged the two prosecutors.

Kalinowski also is charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill a man with whom she was having an affair. The man she allegedly tried to hire turned out to be a state trooper.

If Kalinowski is convicted in that crime, prosecutors said, they will seek an additional 25-year prison term.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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