Robin Wagner Kalinowski pleaded guilty Wednesday to trying to have her former lover killed just prior to the first of her two trials for killing her husband.
The 44-year-old mother of two accepted a prosecution plea deal as jury selection was about to begin before State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang at what would have been her third jury trial stemming from the November 2005 murder of her sleeping husband, Kevin.
In a low voice, Kalinowski pleaded guilty to a single count of second-degree conspiracy and admitted she had agreed in April 2008, during talks at the Erie County Holding Center, to pay a hit man -- who turned out to be an undercover state trooper -- to kill John F. Carey.
The judge committed to imposing a six- to 12-year prison term, which will run concurrently with the 25-year-to-life prison term Senior Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico imposed Feb. 25 on her Jan. 14 second-degree murder conviction.
Kalinowski appeared to be on the verge of tears as she pleaded guilty Wednesday.
She has been in custody since her November 2007 indictment in the Nov. 10, 2005, fatal shooting of her 41-year-old husband as he slept in their marital bed at the Rosedale Street home. The couple were the parents of two teenage boys.
John K. Jordan, Kalinowski's lawyer, told the judge he had advised her to accept the prosecution plea deal because, if convicted of conspiracy and a related criminal solicitation charge after a third jury trial, she faced a prison term of 37 1/2 years to life.
Under the conspiracy plea deal, if Kalinowski's appellate attorneys can persuade the state's higher courts to overturn her murder conviction, she still would have to serve the full six- to 12-year conspiracy sentence Wolfgang is slated to impose Oct. 14.
Aaron F. Glazer and Lauren A. Rott, the trial prosecutors, and Thomas M. Finnerty, the homicide prosecutor who has been overseeing the spousal murder case for more than two years, all told the judge the guilty plea was acceptable because it was the highest charge she still faced.
At Jordan's request, Wolfgang on Wednesday ordered Kalinowski be held in the Erie County Holding Center pending her October sentencing, rather than being returned to the state's Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for women.