A former New York jail guard who pleaded guilty to killing her ex-girlfriend and uncle during a June 2010 shooting spree in which she also wounded her grandfather and kidnapped a niece, was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years to life in prison.
Nassau County Court Judge David Ayres said he accepted Kim Wolfe's guilty plea last September to avoid the prospect of a drawn-out murder trial that could have ended with Wolfe being deemed not guilty because of mental disease or defect.
He conceded the plea deal gives Wolfe less than the maximum of 25 years to life.
Ayres said while he considered Wolfe competent to stand trial and called the killings "some of the most heinous, callous and cowardly actions" in his experience on the bench, he did not want to gamble that she would spend the rest of her life in a mental hospital.
"That was not a choice I was willing to take," Ayres said.
Wolfe's former girlfriend, 45-year-old nurse's aide Stacie Williams, was gunned down outside the Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow on Long Island. The pair had met to discuss a possible reconciliation, according to prosecutors, although Williams' sisters said after the sentencing Tuesday that Wolfe had been stalking the woman for months.
"This relationship was dissolved months before, this girl stalked my sister," said Patricia Bines. "Kim is not crazy, she's never been crazy."
After killing Williams, the corrections officer then went to a relative's home about three miles away in Hempstead. There, she killed her uncle, wounded her 88-year-old grandfather and took a 23-year-old niece hostage following a dispute over life insurance policies.
Wolfe began driving the niece toward Atlantic City, N.J., but made several phone calls to the Hempstead home. During some of those calls, police hostage negotiators persuaded her to return to the home, where she was arrested. Her niece was released unharmed.
The niece, Mary Josey, said in court on Tuesday that she forgave her aunt, but still struggles to understand why the tragedy happened. "I don't hate you, Aunt Kim," the woman said in tears.
Wolfe was a 19-year veteran at the Nassau County jail, which is next to the medical center where Williams worked the midnight shift supervising inmates.
She also apologized during a brief statement. "I just hope you can find it in your heart to one day forgive me," she said.