AZTEC — Aztec City Manager Josh Ray has applied to a pre-prosecution diversion program that could get a felony charge from a domestic violence incident dismissed.

As part of the program, Ray must admit wrongdoing in the case and complete life skills courses and counseling sessions, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien.

Ray, who is charged with felony false imprisonment, appeared briefly in district court Monday morning, where his attorney, Casey Stone, told the court Ray had applied for the program and is likely to be accepted.

Ray will appear in court again Nov. 13 to tell the judge whether he has been accepted into the diversion program. Defendants in the program can't have a lengthy criminal history or have a history of violence.

"The program is effectively as intense or more intense than regular probation," O'Brien said.

Ray was arrested Dec. 30, 2011, for false imprisonment, battery and interference with communications.

The charges stem from a fight between Ray and his wife, Savannah. Ray is accused of pinning his wife to the couple's bed during an argument over a piece of lingerie Ray gave his wife for Christmas, according to court documents.

"We didn't think we could convict him of the felony false imprisonment based on the witness' statements," O'Brien said.

The charges against Ray will be dismissed pending his completion of the diversion program, O'Brien said.


If Ray fails to complete the program, the charges will be refiled and the statement of wrongdoing Ray will submit to the District Attorney's Office can be used against him, O'Brien said.

In the last three months, Ray has had to file motions with District Judge William Birdsall to receive permission to leave the county while his case is pending.

Two of the motions were filed for family reasons and one of the requests was to attend a work conference in Phoenix, according to court documents.