A Pierce County Superior Court judge this afternoon sentenced a Gig Harbor woman convicted of hiring a hit man to kill her husband to 13 years, nine months in prison.
Karen Lofgren, 48, pleaded guilty last month to solicitation to commit second-degree murder. Prosecutors said Lofgren, formerly a nurse at Tacoma’s Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, used an acquaintance last year as a go-between to hire who she thought was a Mexican gangster to kill her husband. The acquaintance went to police, and the hit man turned out to be an undercover Pierce County sheriff’s detective.
Prosecutors asked for a high-end sentence of 13 years, nine months for Lofgren, rejecting her contentions that stress from a bad marriage and hostile divorce proceedings pushed her to commit the crime.
“While the dissolution proceedings were undeniably mutually hostile and stressful, to suggest that the defendant was under duress is absurd,” deputy prosecutor Angelica Williams wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
Judy Hardin is the mother of Lofgren’s husband, Todd Hardin. She wrote a letter to Judge Katherine Stolz asking for the maximum sentence.
“Were it not for the grace of God and intervention by the informant and the sheriff’s department, to whom I will be eternally grateful, my son would be dead,” Judy Hardin wrote. “My granddaughters would have had their father, whom they adore, cruelly taken form them by her vicious actions, the ultimate act of selfishness and greed.”
Lofgren’s attorney, Wayne Fricke, argued for a sentence below the standard range for his client. More than 50 people wrote letters on her behalf asking Judge Katherine Stolz to show mercy.
Many cited her service in the military and her work at Mary Bridge.
“Karen is a warm, loving person who has dedicated her life to helping others,” attorney Jeffrey Robinson wrote in a letter to Stolz. Robinson is representing Lofgren in her on-going divorce proceedings. “During the course of the litigation, Karen had multiple people willing to swear under oath what a wonderful person and mother she was.”
Lofgren wrote her own letter to the judge.
“I am truly sorry for this horrific error in judgment,” she said. “I take full responsibility, and from the bottom of my heart I apologize for putting my family, friends, my husband, his family and especially my children through this. I reached my breaking point and was able to be influenced into doing something that would have otherwise been totally foreign to who I am and to how I’ve lived my life.”
Stolz had the last word.
“She chose to do it,” the judge said.