Pittsburgh woman wants sentence cut in FBI agent slaying

PITTSBURGH — A woman who fatally shot an FBI agent during a drug raid at her home nearly five years ago wants a federal judge to reduce her 15-year, 10-month prison sentence because of her remorse and "exceptional" efforts to turn her life around.

Christina Korbe, 44, filed the motion late Friday, without the aid of an attorney. She attached 12 certificates from various programs she's completed -- including her GED diploma and a drug abuse education course -- at the Federal Medical Center-Carswell. The prison near Fort Worth, Texas, serves female inmates with medical and mental health needs.

Korbe has been incarcerated since shortly after the Nov. 19, 2008, shooting of FBI Special Agent Samuel Hicks at her Indiana Township home, meaning she's served nearly a third of her sentence. Her husband, Robert Korbe, is serving 25 years for the cocaine trafficking charges that brought the raid to their home.

Christina Korbe tearfully apologized to Hicks' family when she was sentenced, but she also criticized the surprise raid and blamed the FBI's "tactics and procedures" for what she claimed was a frightened attempt to protect her children, then age 10 and 5.

"The element of surprise is not worth someone's life," Korbe said then.

Citing a federal appeals court decision, Korbe wrote in last week's filing that she's entitled to a sentencing reduction if she can demonstrate "a fundamental change in attitude by genuinely accepting responsibility for her criminal activity and radically altering her lifestyle."

Korbe's sentencing judge didn't set a hearing on her motion, but ordered the U.S. attorney's office to file a response by Oct. 4.

The prosecutor's office and the FBI declined comment on the motion, as did Korbe's former defense attorney. Attempts to reach Hicks' mother and widow were not immediately successful Monday. Hicks' son, Noah, was 2 when his father was killed.

Korbe asked the court for a chance "to express remorse regarding her past criminal conduct" adding she believes the court will find her efforts at rehabilitation to be "exceptional to the point of being atypical."

Federal prosecutors have argued Korbe presented herself as an average "soccer mom" to the community, when she was actually a foul-mouthed, drug-abusing enabler -- if not partner -- in her husband's illegal dealings.

At her sentencing, U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry blamed much of the carnage on Korbe's husband, saying "Had Robert Korbe simply opened the door and surrendered that morning, none of us would be here today."

Instead, Robert Korbe cursed at agents trying to open his door with a battering ram, then ran to the basement to flush cocaine down a sink before running out a back door, where he was arrested. That left his wife alone with their two children, then 10 and 5.

Korbe acknowledged firing the single fatal shot from a .38-caliber Taurus revolver that killed Hicks. But she pleaded guilty only after the judge defined voluntary manslaughter as an intentional killing carried out by someone in an "emotional state fueled by anger, fear, terror or rage" -- and after prosecutors dropped drug-trafficking and weapons charges carrying a minimum 45-year sentence.