A state appellate court has rejected a former central New Jersey police chief's bid to overturn his conviction for conspiring to kill his ex-wife.

Philip Castagna (NJ Department of Corrections)

But the court did order the trial judge to re-sentence Philip Castagna, who received a 17-year term for the conspiracy charge and a concurrent 15-month term for violating a restraining order. The panel says the judge should not have considered Castagna to be a public official in determining his sentence.

Burlington County prosecutors say the former Bordentown City chief hatched the 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.


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