Custom Search

Sunday, April 10, 2011

[NM] FINALLY, "IT'S TIME." APD Officer Chavez indicted for the murder of his wife Tera

...On Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007, [Albuquerque police officer] Levi Chavez placed a call from a separate location and said "there was a problem" at his Las Maravillas home and his wife, Tera [Cordova Chavez], had killed herself. When deputies arrived, they were met by Levi and found Tera dead from a gunshot wound. Levi's service weapon had been fired inside Tera's mouth... Tera Chavez's October 2007 shooting death was initially ruled a suicide, but after 3 1/2 years of investigation by the Valencia County Sheriff's Office, a grand jury indicted Chavez's husband on charges of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. At a press conference held Thursday, Valencia County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Noah said that "things came out" during the past six months that provided sufficient evidence to present the case to the grand jury... "We received many boxes of material this summer from the sheriff," said District Attorney Lemuel Martinez. "We looked at it and found some holes in it. We gave it back to them and there was some further investigation done...

VIDEO

PREVIOUS BLOG POSTS ON TERA CORDOVA CHAVEZ HERE.

THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY LEMUEL MARTINEZ:

"I know it took a long time
and I want to thank the family
for being patient.
I want to thank the Valencia County sheriff
for not giving up."


"It's time."

APD OFFICER MAY LOSE JOB AFTER MURDER INDICTMENT
koat.com
April 8, 2011
[Excerpts] At this time, Levi Chavez is still technically an Albuquerque police officer, but he could soon be fired from the force. Chavez was indicted in the October 2007 shooting death of his wife Thursday. While Chavez is not behind bars, Albuquerque Police Department Chief Ray Schultz said he’s been taken off the street as a police officer. “You cannot be a police officer, you cannot possess a firearm while under an indictment,” Schultz said. Schultz said Chavez has been placed on paid administrative leave. Previously, he was reassigned to the animal welfare department during the investigation, but now he can’t work at all. The chief has 10 days from the date of the indictment to decide Chavez’s fate in APD. “We’ve remained separated from criminal cases to make sure that it’s allowed to move as it has,” Schultz said... “There were mistakes made, but the mistakes made on the original evening of this event were made wholly and solely by the Valencia County Sheriff’s Department,” Schultz said. Even though the city just settled with Tera Chavez’s family for $250,000 without admitting guilt, Schultz said APD officers did nothing wrong the night she was killed. APD currently has an internal affairs investigation into everything that happened the night Tera Chavez was killed... [Full article here]

OFFICER LEVI CHAVEZ INDICTED IN WIFE’S DEATH
koat.com
Chavez Faces Murder Charge
POSTED: April 7, 2011
UPDATED: April 8, 201
[Excerpts] Albuquerque Police Department Officer Levi Chavez has been charged with an open count of murder and tampering with evidence in connection with his wife’s 2007 death. Authorities said Tera Chavez was shot in the head a few years ago, but it was only recently that the case against her husband started to heat up. Authorities have speculated that the former Albuquerque police officer shot and killed his wife with his city-issued gun and that it wasn't suicide, as initially suspected. "Investigating another police officer is always difficult. It's a hard thing to do; it's something that needs to be done," said Lt. Jeff Noah of the Valencia County Sheriff's Office. Action 7 News learned last week that Chavez had received a target letter that he was the center of an investigation and that he could be indicted... [Chavez's attorney, David] Serna said Chavez will not be arrested because authorities don't believe he's a flight risk, and they expect him to show up for his arraignment... [Full article here]

COP INDICTED FOR MURDER IN WIFE'S DEATH: Prosecutors may seek death sentence
KRQE
Alex Tomlin, Nancy Laflin
Updated: 08 Apr 2011
Published: 07 Apr 2011
[Excerpts] A Valencia County grand jury Thursday indicted Albuquerque Police Department Officer Levi Chavez on first-degree murder charges in the death of his wife [Tera Chavez]. District Attorney Lemuel Martinez told News 13 prosecutors may seek the death penalty. That may be under a death-sentence circumstance involving the silencing a witness. A civil suit filed by Tera Chavez's family claims that Levi Chavez and "cop friends" dumped his pickup truck to collect insurance money on the truck since he was upside-down on his payments. Chavez is not being arrested but is expected to appear for arraigment before District Judge John Pope in about 15 days... Chavez's wife, Tera Córdova Chavez, was found dead from a gunshot wound in the couples Valencia County home in Oct. 2007. Levi Chavez claimed he came home to find she had shot herself with his service weapon. Other APD officers appeared at the scene out of their jurisdiction, which became an issue in a wrongful-death lawsuit file by 's family against Levi Chavez and the city of Albuquerque. The suit against Chavez is still pending, but the city settled with the family for $230,000 in February. The family's attorney released a statement saying that while the family welcomes the pursuit of justice in any forum, it opposes the death penalty... Late Thursday APD Chief Ray Schultz said Chavez has been place on paid leave pending an administrative hearing on his employment status in 10 days. He will be fired, since it violates code for an officer to be under indictment. [Full article here]

APD OFFICER INDICTED IN WIFE'S 2007 MURDER
KOB Eyewitness News 4
Heather Mills
Posted at: 04/07/2011
Updated at: 04/08/2011
[Excerpts] An APD officer is still not in jail after a grand jury indicted him for the murder of his wife Thursday afternoon. In fact, his lawyer told KOB Eyewitness News 4 that Levi Chavez was at home Thursday night, with his new wife and two kids, though it may not be for long. Albuquerque Chief of Police Ray Schultz says Chavez has been put on paid administrative leave and could be fired within 10 day... Schultz said, "I believe, uh, I think he's gonna turn himself in but I'm not exactly sure how that's gonna work." Just months ago, the family of Tera Chavez received a $230,000 wrongful death settlement in civil court. They claim Chavez pulled a suicide clause out their life insurance policy just weeks before Tera was found dead. The suit also accused APD of destroying evidence in the case, something Chief Schultz says did not happen. Instead, he says, "There were mistakes made, but the mistakes made on the original evening of this event were made wholly and solely by the Valencia County Sheriff's Department"... Chavez's attorney, David Serna, is confident his client's name will be cleared. "We have a host of witnesses, from all across the country, and from outside the country who are leading experts, in their field, who the grand jury did not hear from, and when that truth comes out we expect the answer will be clear," Serna said... [Full article here]

OFFICER CHARGED IN WIFE'S 2007 SHOOTING DEATH
Valencia County News Bulletin
Curt Gustafson
9 April 2011 07:00
[Excerpts] Tera Chavez's October 2007 shooting death was initially ruled a suicide, but after 3 1/2 years of investigation by the Valencia County Sheriff's Office, a grand jury indicted Chavez's husband, Levi, an Albuquerque Police Department officer, on charges of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. At a press conference held Thursday at the 13th Judicial District Attorney's Office, Valencia County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Noah said that "things came out" during the past six months that provided sufficient evidence to present the case to the grand jury... "We received many boxes of material this summer from the sheriff," said District Attorney Lemuel Martinez. "We looked at it and found some holes in it. We gave it back to them and there was some further investigation done. "We took a good look at it again and made a decision there was enough to take this to the grand jury." On Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007, Levi Chavez placed a call from a separate location and said "there was a problem" at his Las Maravillas home and his wife, Tera, had killed herself. When deputies arrived, they were met by Levi and found Tera dead from a gunshot wound. Levi's service weapon had been fired inside Tera's mouth. The Office of the Medical Investigator originally ruled the death a suicide, but after a request from the sheriff's office, the ruling was changed to undetermined... A civil lawsuit filed by Tera Chavez's family alleges that Albuquerque Police Department officers who responded to the scene on the night of the shooting to offer grief counseling to Levi trampled evidence. The lawsuit also claims that a climate in APD allowed for unchecked fraternization and rampant extramarital affairs... In a statement issued Thursday, an attorney for Tera Chavez's estate said the family opposes the death penalty. Levi Chavez's attorney, David Serna, said that his client's defense will be that Tera Chavez committed suicide... "I know it took a long time and I want to thank the family for being patient," Martinez said. "I want to thank the Valencia County sheriff for not giving up." [Full article here]

EARLIER THIS MONTH:

DA COULD SEEK DEATH PENALTY
Albuquerque Journal
By Jeff Proctor
Saturday, April 02, 2011
[Excerpts] Thirteenth Judicial District Attorney Lemuel Martinez says he may seek the death penalty against Levi Chavez, the former Albuquerque police officer who is under investigation in the 2007 death of his wife, Tera Chavez... "The (Valencia County) sheriff finished his investigation at the end of last summer, and, since then, we've been going through many boxes of material," Martinez said. "I feel that we have everything now, and it's time to make a decision. It's time." Martinez, of course, would also have to get a conviction against Chavez on first-degree murder and prove one of seven aggravating factors before a death penalty could be imposed. A ban on capital punishment went into effect last July, but the case could be eligible because the crime, if there was one, would have been committed before the ban took effect... [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety coverup brotherhood fatality fatalities murder alleged so called suicide new mexico state politics]

7 comments:

  1. This is so awful. I pray for her family. What a loss of a beautiful woman. I pray that they find peace and that he never gets out of prison.

    ReplyDelete
  2. OFFICER ACCUSED IN WIFE'S SLAYING FIRED
    KOAT
    pril 18, 2011
    [Excerpts] Recently indicted officer Levi Chavez was terminated from the Albuquerque Police Department on Monday. Chavez was charged with an open count of murder and tampering with evidence in connection with his wife’s 2007 death. Authorities said Tera Chavez was shot in the head a few years ago, but it was only recently that the case against her husband started to heat up. Authorities have speculated that the former Albuquerque police officer shot and killed his wife with his city-issued gun and that it wasn't suicide, as initially suspected... [Full article here]

    ReplyDelete
  3. INDICTED POLICE OFFICER HAS BEEN FIRED: Levi Chaves fails to meet with police chief
    KASA
    Monday, 18 Apr 2011
    [Excerpts] Levi Chavez was officially fired by APD Monday, three and a half years after his wife's death, and a week after his indictment on a first-degree murder charge. Chavez's wife, Tera, was found dead in their Los Lunas home in 2007 with Levi's police-issued gun next to her... Chavez did not show up for a scheduled meeting with the chief Monday morning. "This is the first one that I’ve had where someone has not showed up, or called. He may have just decided to waive that process," Chief Ray Schultz said... [Full article here]

    ReplyDelete
  4. APD officer investigated for murder draws big paychecks
    KOB Eyewitness News 4
    By: Joe Vigil, Taryn Bianchin
    04/18/2011
    [Excerpts] ...Police say while on administrative leave from November 19th, 2007 through July 31st, 2009, Chavez was paid $72,053... At one point during his time at animal welfare, Chavez was making more than $25 an hour. We uncovered city payroll records that indicate Chavez was making more money than most employees in the department, including senior animal handlers and even some field supervisors... [Full article here]

    ReplyDelete
  5. ACCUSED COP KEPT RECEIVING PAY, RAISES?
    ABQ Journal
    By Jeff Proctor
    Tuesday, April 19, 2011
    [Excerpts] ...Chavez spent 19 months on administrative leave after his wife's death... "Unfortunately, this has been a long time coming," [Police Chief Ray] Schultz said at a news conference Monday. "This case has been unique in that it was outside the jurisdiction of the Albuquerque Police Department. Early in the investigation, there were allegations of interference by members of the department (at the scene of Tera Chavez's death), and, for that reason, we had to step away and let the Valencia County Sheriff's Department do its investigation. Unfortunately, it took them more than three years to complete it"... Chavez has maintained his innocence. He was not arrested, because he is not considered a flight risk. Tera Chavez, 26, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the mouth from her husband's service revolver. Her husband called 911 to report that his wife had killed herself. Albuquerque police officers who responded to the Chavez house that night to "assist with grief counseling" were later accused in a civil lawsuit of trampling the crime scene, possibly destroying evidence. Valencia County authorities have said they do not plan to charge any of the officers involved... The homicide investigation, conducted by two detectives from the Valencia County Sheriff's Office, had stalled last spring. But within the past few months, new information came to light, according to Lt. Jeff Noah, who oversaw the investigation. Noah said detectives have more evidence implicating Chavez. Noah has not discussed details of the new evidence but said after the indictment that he was confident Chavez would be convicted... The chief said the IA probe is focusing on Levi Chavez and about a half-dozen other current and former APD officers — some of them supervisors — who were at the Chavezes' Los Lunas home when Tera Chavez was found dead. He said IA investigations must be finished within 90 days, although investigators can ask for a 30-day extension. "We want to be able to clear up some of the allegations that have been thrown out there, to be able to explain why certain things happened," Schultz said. "And if things were done improperly, we will have no problem taking action." [Full article here]

    ReplyDelete
  6. wow so he sits at home with his new wife and kids and not in jail as anyone else would be if indicted for the same and a whole lot less.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Crisis in New Mexico Law Enforcement
    Salem-News.com
    Oct-02-2011 - Barely a week goes by without a scandal involving a New Mexico law enforcement officer... Meanwhile, former Albuquerque Police Department officer Levi Chavez who is charged with the 2007 murder of his wife in a case that could involve a crime ring that was sending stolen cars to Mexico, pleads not guilty. Earlier this year, the city government of Albuquerque paid out $230,000 to Tara Chavez’s family in a settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit... The activists and family members contend that an institutional impunity prevails, punctuated by rubber-stamp grand juries, an unelected and ineffective police review commission, missing police reports, bureaucratic foot-dragging, and a long line of complicit mayors of all political stripes...
    http://www.salem-news.com/articles/october022011/new-mexico-cops.php

    ReplyDelete

Please post updates or email them to behindthebluewall@gmail.com. No cop-hating or victim-hating comments allowed. Word verification had to be added due to spam attacks on this blog.