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Maximum given: 7 years, 11 months

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The widow of NFL running back Fred Lane
was sentenced to nearly eight years in prison Wednesday for
shooting her husband to death three years ago as he walked in the
front door.

Deidra Lane, who pleaded guilty in August to voluntary
manslaughter, cried as the judge read the sentence. Before her
punishment was handed down, she addressed the family of her slain
husband.

"I am sorry for the loss of Fred," she said. "I loved Fred
dearly. He was a good man, but at times he scared me and I didn't
know him then. I'm sorry for the pain I've caused."

Judge Timothy Patti gave her the maximum sentence of seven years
and 11 months. He ruled the slaying was premeditated and
deliberate, that Lane acted with malice, and that she shot her
husband a second time after the first shot rendered him helpless.
Those factors outweighed the alleged abuse, the judge said.

Fred Lane was a 24-year-old running back for the Carolina
Panthers who had recently been traded to Indianapolis. He was found
dead just inside the front door of his Charlotte home in 2000, his
keys still in the lock.

"It was what we were hoping for," said the running back's
father, Fred Lane Sr. "Their side should be happy. She missed the
death penalty, she missed life in prison."

Deidra Lane's parents, Charles and Darlene Gary, declined to
comment as they left the courthouse.

Deidra Lane, 28, also pleaded guilty last year to unrelated
charges of conspiracy to commit bank larceny. She was sentenced to
four months in jail, which she has served, and fined $41,200.