Victim of foiled murder-for-hire plot asks for stiffer penalties

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Ramapo podiatrist Dr. Ira Bernstein and his girlfriend, Kelly Gribeluk, are now serving time for conspiracy to commit murder. Ramapo podiatrist Dr. Ira Bernstein and his girlfriend, Kelly Gribeluk, are now serving time for conspiracy to commit murder.

Susan Bernstein broke her silence Friday about the foiled murder-for-hire plot initiated by her then-husband, prominent Ramapo podiatrist Dr. Ira Bernstein, and his girlfriend, Kelly Gribeluk.

Turning her struggle into strength, Bernstein called on state lawmakers to toughen penalties in cases like hers.

"It's beyond appalling that convicted criminals can be in prison for only a handful of years for a guilty plea of conspiracy for attempted murder," she said.

MORE: Extended footage from Friday's news conference

Bernstein's ex-husband and Gribeluk hired a hitman-turned-informant in 2016, who they agreed to pay $100,000 to make her death look like an accident.

While Dr. Ira Bernstein is serving 5-15 years behind bars for conspiracy and Gribeluk is serving 4-12, their intended victim says it's not enough.

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski says he wants to stiffen the penalties. The new law would classify conspiracy to commit murder as a violent felony, with a set sentence of 5-25 years behind bars.

If pushed through the Assembly and Senate, Zebrowski says the bill could pass sometime this year.

"There are past victims this won't help, but future ones - it will,” says Zebrowski.

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