Lukjan takes sentencing plea deal - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Lukjan takes sentencing plea deal

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Susan Lukjan during her testimony on June 19, 2013. Susan Lukjan during her testimony on June 19, 2013.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The St. Matthews businesswoman convicted for a second time of burning down her store has accepted a plea agreement for her sentence.

During the sentencing phase of her trial, Susan Lukjan agreed to a sentence of 15 years on the arson charge, five years each on charges of burning personal property to defraud an insurer and fraudulent insurance acts over $500. The final two sentences will run concurrent with the arson charge.

The Commonwealth has recommended Lukjan receive probation and that she agree to waive further rights to appeal her conviction.

After reaching the plea agreement, Lukjan said that sometimes you just have to give up. 

"One of the agents told a witness, before they were done with me I'd be pleading guilty and here I am," said Lukjan. "He was right. I mean I didn't plea, but they got me."

A visibly emotionally drained Lukjan says the justice system let her down. "I used to for some naive reason think that our justice system was really about justice, but I think it is nothing, but a chess game and people's lives are the trophy," said Lukjan. 

Despite the end result Lukjan says she does not regret going to trial for the second time. "I truly wish I had the strength to do this a third time because I know it is wrong," said Lukjan. 

Lukjan served 180 days in prison following her first conviction in 2010. Those jurors also thought she set fire to her St. Matthews business Campbell's Gourmet Cottage back in 2006 to get insurance money.

In January 2012 that conviction was overturned. This time around Lukjan was confident things would work in her favor, because the defense could present expert witnesses not allowed in the first trial. 

After the guilty verdict both sides agreed to a plea of a 15-year sentence, with a recommendation of no jail time and five years probation.

Prosecutors say they took in account that Lukjan has lived a crime free life up until this.

"She just had a terrible day and she made a terrible choice and she's going to be punished and she's going to be a convicted felon for the rest of her life," said Prosecutor Leland Hulbert. 

Lukjan says she's now focusing on the future. "Maybe we can get things back to whatever normal is, the last seven years haven't been normal," said Lukjan. 

Lukjan has two children in college and is originally from Texas, but  she says she plans to stay in Louisville and continue to work. She currently owns a food truck.

Formal sentencing will be in Tuesday, August 6 at 8:45 a.m.

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