NEW YORK – A college student who branded a former lover's body with a scalding piece of metal as payback for never calling her after they had sex was sentenced to five years in prison Friday.
Kristina Caban, 23, had no comment as state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus sentenced her for what he called a crime that was "not remotely justifiable."
Assistant District Attorney Nicole Blumberg told Obus that Caban was the "mastermind behind the plan" to sear the torso of Samir "Sammy" Sara, then 23, for having sex with her once in 2004 and never calling her again.
Caban enlisted new boyfriend Robert Testagrossa to help brand a four-inch-high "R" on Samir's abdomen in October 2006, the prosecutor said. She said Caban lured the former lover to a hotel room, where Testagrossa and another man grabbed him.
Blumberg said the men used a Taser to immobilize Sara in a room at the Chelsea Inn while Caban laughed at his distress and kicked him while he was down.
The branding "iron" was actually a length of metal wire fashioned into a "R" — heated, and applied to Samir's torso, said Tracy Golden of the Manhattan district attorney's office. She said prosecutors did not know what the "R" stood for.
Caban and Testagrossa, 27, pleaded guilty to assault in August 2007 in exchange for five-year sentences. Testagrossa was sentenced in February and Caban, a photography student, was allowed to graduate from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan before going to prison.
Blumberg said Sara will have forever a tragic memento of his encounter with Caban.
Caban's lawyer, James Friedman said, "She's a good kid, despite the picture painted of her, who exercised poor judgment and got herself into a bad situation. She is not the monster the prosecution made her out to be."
"She's a college graduate from a good family," Friedman said, "and hopefully, when she gets this behind her, she'll have a bright future."
Caban's father is Rafael Caban, 55, a retired Correction Department captain.
Testagrossa is the son of two prosecutors. His father Charles is the executive assistant district attorney in Queens who prosecuted the Sean Bell police shooting case. His mother is a lawyer in the Nassau County district attorney's office.
Blumberg said the third assailant remains at large.