Ex-Probation Chief Offered Plea Bargain


A settlement hearing this week for former Gila County Probation chief Robert "Rocky" Castaneda, who is accused of misusing public funds, has been postponed.

Castaneda, a 16-year employee of Gila County, resigned last fall amid allegations that he used his county credit card to support an alleged gambling problem.

"We're looking at about $15,000 over a period of a few months," Gila County Attorney Jerry DeRose said.

In exchange for a guilty plea, DeRose is offering the defendant a sentence range of 1 to 3.75 years in prison, a maximum fine of $150,000 and $20,000 in restitution.

DeRose said the defense has not rejected the plea offer, "but there were some negotiations which did not bear any fruit."

The settlement hearing will be reset, and DeRose said by then, the defense will either accept the plea or the case will be set for trial.

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