A Florida man was sentenced to 24 years in prison in Brooklyn federal court Thursday after he was found guilty of being part of plot to murder Long Island Judge Joseph Bianco and prosecutor Lara Treinis Gatz, then preserve their heads in formaldehyde as souvenirs.
Dejvid Mirkovic, 38, of Lake Worth, sobbed and begged for "a second chance at life" when the sentence was read.
The plot was supposed to be an act of vengeance after Bianco and Gatz had put away Mirkovic's New York-based business associate, Joseph Romano, for 15 years in a coin fraud case.
Mirkovic, an ex-Marine, and Romano, had met with two undercover FBI agents posing as hit men. The two agreed to pay the hit men $40,000 to murder the judge and prosecutor, while asking them to bring back their heads as souvenirs.
Mirkovic gave the undercover agents $22,000 as a down payment.
He pleaded guilty in March, while Romano -- who Mirkovic's lawyer called the driving force behind the plot -- is awaiting trial.
Mirkovic attorney also called him a hardworking Serbian immigrant who got involved in Romano's coin business and then the plot to kill and decapitate a judge and prosecutor because he couldn't pay his mortgage.
Mirkovic wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge John Keenan, who handed down the sentencing:
"I truly had lost touch with the man I had been all of my life," he added. "My choices show a tremendous disrespect for our legal system and the rule of law. As a U.S. Marine, I swore to protect this great country. Now, I am mortified at how low I have sunk."
"You didn't deserve any of this," he wrote to the judge. "I am so sorry for the pain I have caused you and your family."
He called himself an "idiot" and a "moron" in the letters.