A STATE JUDGE has reduced the prison sentence handed down to a former Burlington County police chief who was convicted in a plot 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 in July but ruled that he should be resentenced. The panel said state Superior Court Judge Jeanne Covert should not have considered Castagna, 52, to be a public official in determining his sentence, noting that he was suspended from his job at the time of the crime.

On Friday, the former Bordentown City chief's sentence was cut to 12 years in state prison. He will be 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. He was convicted in October 2010.