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A Colorado animal rights activist who tried to hire a hit man to kill her husband’s girlfriend—who had once served as the family’s au pair—has been sentenced to 10 years behind bars.
District Judge Randall C. Arp handed down the sentence for Jennifer Reba Emmi on Monday for nine counts in three separate cases, according to KUSA.
Emmi had already pleaded guilty to charges including solicitation of second-degree murder, stalking and retaliation against a witness or victim.
“The defendant poses a threat to the health and safety of our community and caused significant trauma to the victims of her crimes,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Kate Knowles said after the sentencing, according KCNC-TV. “The court’s sentence ensures that they can move on with their lives without fearing for them.”
Emmi—a prominent attorney who once ran The Animal Law Center—had tried to hire ranch hands to kill her husband’s girlfriend. Emmi’s defense attorney M. Colin Bresee told Oxygen.com earlier this year that Emmi had been devastated to discover the relationship between her husband and the woman.
“In the affidavit, it is alleged that Jennifer’s divorce attorney told Jennifer that the au pair had replaced her. On the same day, Jennifer first learned that the 20-something girl was sleeping in her bed, having relations with her husband, and having Jennifer’s kids call the au pair ‘mom,’” he said. “It is alleged that Jennifer called a few trusted friends and said some unsavory things.”
According to an affidavit obtained by KUSA, Emmi’s husband described a pattern of abuse and stalking that began in January of 2019 after he said he discovered she was having an affair and asked her for a divorce.
The harassment continued to escalate until November 2020 when an informant reported that Emmi had asked him to kill her husband’s girlfriend, even offering several thousand dollars to get started.
When the man, who recorded the call, told her that her husband could get killed as well, she allegedly replied that she was “inclined to kill two birds with one stone.”
She also approached another man with a military background to inquire about carrying out the hit.
Emmi was arrested that month and initially charged with 16 felony counts, including domestic violence stalking, child abuse, assault, witness tampering, victim retaliation, attempting to influence public servants and violating court orders. Some of the charges were later dropped as part of the plea deal, according to Fox News.
Authorities said she had also targeted numerous people connected to her cases, including an investigator and a deputy district attorney, according to the affidavit.
Breese had argued for probation, saying that his client had struggled with illnesses and addiction.
“Jennifer needs your help, and sentencing her to prison guarantees she won’t get the help she needs or wants,” he said.
Emmi’s mother and her divorce attorney also spoke on her behalf.
According to Breese, Emmi has not been allowed to see her children for nearly 18 months.
Prosecutors, however, argued that Emmi had never taken responsibility for her crimes and needed to spend time behind bars.
Arp agreed, saying she had taken “almost no accountability” for her actions.
“I believe you continue to pose a risk to the community and to those victims, mostly because you’re blaming others, anything and anyone, rather than taking responsibility for your actions,” he said, according to Fox News.
Emmi also addressed the court herself, apologizing for her actions.
“I never wanted to kill anyone, I’m not capable of such a thing,” she said. “I did horrible things that were completely out of character, and I’m so embarrassed about them.”
Breese said in a statement to Oxygen.com that Emmi was "heartbroken" by the sentence.
"Jennifer is devastated today that she was not sentenced to probation," he said, adding she felt the sentence benefited her ex-husband because he could have control of their children and will not have to pay any support while she's in prison.
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