Ex-Albuquerque cop accused in wife death testifies
Posted in the Fitchburg Forum
#1 Jul 11, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— It's a murder trial involving nearly a half-dozen mistresses, a botched investigation at a troubled police department and a missing pickup truck at the heart of the case.
After a month of testimony, a former Albuquerque police officer accused of killing his wife with his service weapon took the stand Wednesday morning as the defense began wrapping up a case that has become a tale of workplace romances and steamy affairs, including a love triangle at the hair salon where the victim worked. In all, four mistresses and a woman who married defendant Levi Chavez just after his wife's death have testified about their trysts with him. Several of the women were police officers.
The case also has threatened to further tarnish the reputation of the beleaguered Albuquerque Police Department, which already is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department over a series of police shootings. The trial included allegations that officers at the scene removed and even flushed key evidence down the toilet.
Chavez, 32, is accused of shooting his wife, Tera Chavez, 26, with his department-issued gun in 2007 at their Los Lunas home and then trying to make her death look like a suicide.
Prosecutors have depicted Chavez as a philanderer whose marriage was crumbling. They said he killed his wife after she found out that he had staged the theft of his pickup valued at more than $20,000 to collect the insurance proceeds.
On Tuesday, Chavez acknowledged cheating on his wife throughout their marriage and said his wife knew about his affairs. He said they fought often, and he would often leave ''until the next time.'' He also testified that Tera Chavez threatened suicide ''countless times,'' saying things like she couldn't live without him.
The defense said the death was a suicide by a woman unraveling over her failed marriage and relationships. Chavez's lawyer said he could not have killed his wife in October 2007 because he was with another woman at the time.
Chavez testified that his wife called him nearly 200 times on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007, but he ignored the calls and turned off his cellphone before going to spend the night with a girlfriend. The next day, he said he became concerned when the calls stopped and his mother told him his wife had called in sick.
In tearful testimony, Chavez said he knew something was wrong when she failed to respond to his calls and texts. And he described rushing to the couple's home the next evening to find her dead.
''I turned on the light and it was just like terror,'' he said.''I couldn't believe what I was seeing.''
Chavez said he was shocked when he found out after her death that Tera Chavez was also having an affair with an Albuquerque police officer who was married to the maid of honor in her wedding. They had sex in the back of a hair salon where she worked, according to testimony.
''This trial is like a mosquito in a nudist colony,'' said Tom Garrity, owner of the Albuquerque-based public relations firm The Garrity Group.''Where do you begin?''
The case is nearing the end as defense attorney David Serna calls final witnesses this week.
Serna, who has long represented clients in high-profile New Mexico homicide cases, was able to persuade the judge to bar statements Tera Chavez made about her husband and his ''cop buddies'' staging the theft of Levi Chavez's 2004 Ford F-250 truck as part of an insurance scam.
Since: Feb 10
#2 Jul 11, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.???? Now you're really reaching. Maybe you should consider hightailing it down there for a cops job or maybe you could become Mayor?
#3 Jul 11, 2013
Stamos, did you read this story? It was in todays Telegram and Gazette.
Wow, All kinds of cheating going on! This story probably will become a movie.
#4 Jul 11, 2013
The Boston Herald yesterday obtained confidential criminal offender records for Kevin A. Lynch, 22, of South Boston and Kevin M. Dahl, 20, of Weymouth, who are said to have the most extensive criminal histories among the nine accused of fatally beating and stabbing [Andrew McDonough], 23, Saturday.
Both Lynch and Dahl were named by homicide detective Sgt. William Mahoney as participants in the attack on McDonough, who died two hours after he was found in the street with stab wounds and other injuries.
Mahoney, testifying at the defendants' arraignment Monday, said witnesses saw Lynch kicking McDonough in the head in the 2 a.m. assault, which occurred after McDonough and some friends reportedly were turned away from a party at Lynch's home on L Street.
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