A former Santa Rosa Junior College police officer charged with embezzling $287,000 from campus parking machines rejected a settlement offer Wednesday that required his wife to admit wrongdoing.

Jeffrey Holzworth, 51, a 28-year department veteran, and Karen Holzworth, 49, both of Santa Rosa, appeared in court with lawyers who said they were turning down a deal.

The plea bargain carried a maximum of nearly six years in prison for Jeffrey Holzworth and up to a year in jail for his wife. The ex-police officer faces up to 12 years if convicted at trial.

But attorney Joe Passalacqua said the agreement was unacceptable to Jeff Holzworth, who takes responsibility for the thefts and maintains his wife was not involved.

Prosecutors have charged Karen Holzworth with being an accessory.

"They want a package deal and that's not happening," Passalacqua said outside court.

The Holzworths remain free on bail.

Now, the couple will proceed toward trial. The next hearing is Friday before Judge Ken Gnoss.

Jeffrey Holzworth, who managed campus parking meter collections, was arrested in November after a fellow officer reported suspicious behavior. An investigation revealed he had been pocketing parking fees over an eight-year period, police said.

His wife was arrested in January after prosecutors said they received information about her role.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com