Gig Harbor woman sentenced to nearly 14 years for hiring hit man

TACOMA, Wash. - A 48-year-old Gig Harbor woman was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison Friday after hiring a hit man to kill her estranged husband.

Karen E. Lofgren, 48, of Gig Harbor, pleaded guilty to second-degree solicitation to commit murder in Pierce County Superior Court.

According to court documents, Lofgren hired a man to kill her estranged husband early last year. The "hit man" turned out to be a Pierce County sheriff's detective working undercover.

"Hiring a hit man only works in the movies," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. "All the defendant bought is 14 years in jail."

The case came to light on Jan. 23, 2012, when Pierce County sheriff's detectives were contacted by a federal probation officer who reported that an offender under his supervision claimed he was propositioned by Lofgren to help get rid of her husband.

Lofgren, who worked as a nurse at a local hospital, and her husband were going through a contentious divorce, and she told the informant that her problems would all go away if her husband were gone.

She offered the informant $500,000 - half of the $1 million dollar insurance policy - if he arranged to have her husband killed, court documents say.

Detectives set up covert surveillance and recorded several conversations between the defendant and the informant. He told her he had arranged for a hit man to come from out of state. They discussed how the death should look, ultimately agreeing on a "robbery gone bad" scenario, documents say.

On Feb. 21, an undercover detective, posing as the hit man, met with Lofgren. She gave him diamond earrings as a down payment for the murder, a photo of her husband, his physical description, and details of his daily schedule.

Two days later Lofgren was arrested during a traffic stop.