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Former Wharton undergraduate Irina Malinovskaya pleaded no contest on June 5 to manslaughter charges in the death of Temple student Irina Zlotnikov, her ex-boyfriend's then-girlfriend.

She was sentenced to five years in jail with credit for time served by Delaware Superior Court President Judge James Vaughn, according to The Associated Press. She will be released in eight months.

After being tried three times for the homicide of the Temple student, each time resulting in a mistrial, Malinovskaya faced a potential fourth trial on charges of first-degree murder. Prosecutors were seeking a sentence of life in prison.

By pleading no contest, Malinovskaya is not admitting guilt but is conceding that there is enough evidence for a conviction.

Malinovskaya is no longer enrolled at Penn, University spokeswoman Phyllis Holtzman said.

A no-contest plea in Malinovskaya's case was not unexpected, legal experts said.

A conviction would have carried a substantially longer sentence than what Malinovskaya received, said Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Patrick Artur, who is not affiliated with the case.

"You roll the dice with those kinds of odds and the deal starts looking good," he said.

The plea marked the end of a three-and-a-half-year-long murder case. Prosecutors say Malinovskaya bludgeoned Zlotnikov to death in Dec. 2004.

Malinovskaya's first trial, which ended in February 2006, resulted in an 11-1 hung jury in favor of acquittal. In October of the same year, the second trial ended in a 6-6 deadlock.

The third trial, which ended last November after 11 days of deliberations, resulted in a 10-2 decision in favor of conviction of second-degree murder and 8-4 for first-degree murder.

Following the last trial, the defense filed a change of venue motion, asking that the case be moved to another county in Delaware in the event of a fourth trial. Though the motion was granted in mid-February, the defense withdrew it in early March.

Eugene Mauer, Malinovskaya's lawyer, subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the case.

"The defense would have hoped that, after three hung juries, the prosecution would have given up," said Daniel Filler, a Drexel criminal law professor who is not affiliated with the case. "That happens but not often in homicides."

Legal experts said both sides benefited from the plea by avoiding the risks associated with a fourth trial.

Artur called Malinovskaya's plea "a classic meeting of the minds," saying, "both sides are getting something, and no sides get everything.

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