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Judge Reduces Former New Jersey Police Chief’s Sentence In Murder Plot

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(Credit: Thinkstock)

(Credit: Thinkstock)

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MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP) — A state judge has reduced the prison sentence handed down to a former central New Jersey police chief who was convicted of plotting to kill his ex-wife.

Philip Castagna received a 17-year state prison term for a conspiracy charge and a concurrent 15-month term for violating a restraining order when he was initially sentenced in 2011.

A state appellate court upheld Castagna’s conviction last July but ruled that he should be resentenced. The panel said state Superior Court Judge Jeanne Covert should not have considered Castagna to be a public official in determining his sentence, noting that he was suspended from his job at the time the crime occurred.

On Friday, the 52-year-old former Bordentown City chief saw his sentence cut to 12 years in state prison. He will become eligible for parole in about seven years.

Burlington County prosecutors say Castagna hatched the murder plot in 2004, as his marriage was ending in divorce. They say Castagna hired a friend to kidnap and murder his wife, but the friend notified authorities.

Castagna’s first trial in 2009 ended in a hung jury. He was convicted in an October 2010 retrial.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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