GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– Jennifer Emmi, a well-known Colorado animal rights attorney and media personality, was sentenced to 10 years on Monday after agreeing to a plea bargain with Jefferson County prosecutors. Emmi, 43, was jailed in January in Jefferson County after being charged with attempting to hire a hit man to murder her husband’s girlfriend.
Emmi was sentenced on nine counts in three separate cases on Monday, including stalking, retaliation against a witness or victim, felony menacing and assault. She has already spent 7 months in jail.
The prosecution added during the sentencing hearing that Emmi also threatened her husband with a knife, prior to the murder-for-hire scheme, something Emmi also admits to having done out of impulse, and “irrationally.”
“I have repeated criminal acts over a long period of time,” the judge told Emmi while delivering the sentence. “I do note that you have had 7 months in jail… (but) the suggestion that’s sufficient is misguided and misstated.”
“The defendant poses a threat to the health and safety of our community and caused significant trauma to the victims of her crimes,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Kate Knowles. “The court’s sentence ensures that they can move on with their lives without fearing for them.”
Emmi was accused of asking a man who worked at her Evergreen ranch to “take care” of her husband’s girlfriend. She has been held in the Jefferson County jail on a $3 million bond.
Emmi’s attorney, Colin Bresee, told CBS4 that Emmi “felt it would be in her best interest and help her reintegrate into the community and into her children’s lives” if she agreed to the plea bargain.
Bresee said she hoped she would be given a probationary sentence, but he expected prosecutors would seek prison time.
Emmi was well known as an animal rights advocate and hosted a Facebook broadcast about animals. She founded the Animal Law Center and following her arrest, told a Denver reporter,” “I was set up, and I have been repeatedly set up. All I can say is I want the truth to come out. The whole thing is crazy. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
At the sentencing hearing, Emmi gave a statement to the judge, pleading for leniency in her sentence, saying that during the last 2 years, she has struggled with serious mental health problems and an autoimmune disease. She said she took medication that altered her state of mind.
“I never wanted to kill anyone, I’m not capable of such a thing,” Emmi told the court in tears. “I did horrible things that were completely out of character, and I’m so embarrassed about them.”