BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) - Did former cop Levi Chavez kill his wife Tera and then stage it to look like a suicide?
That's what 12 jurors now have the task of deciding.
Deliberations are set to begin Monday morning after a full day's worth of closing arguments from the prosecution and defense Friday.
Each side had three hours to convince the jury, and neither the state nor defense held back.
The prosecution used its closing arguments to get into precise detail for the first time about how they say Levi Chavez killed his wife Tera with his department-issued gun and then staged it to look like a suicide.
"Walks in with his gun in his uniform like he does every time he comes home after work," lead prosecutor Bryan McKay told the jury. That was sometime after midnight Sunday, October 21, 2007, and Tera most likely had fallen asleep watching TV, he said.
"Slams that gun in and pulls the trigger instantly killing Tera Chavez," McKay continued. "Then he pulls the gun out, and he turns it over, and he lays it down."
McKay told jurors in laying the gun down Chavez accidentally released the magazine, a key issue since testimony indicate the button releasing it had been pushed after the shooting when Tera would have been incapacitated.
To cover his tracks McKay says Chavez first grabbed Tera's phone "and does a quick text: 'I'm so sad.'"
He then pointed to the testimony of one of the several of Levi's former mistresses who appeared as witnesses.
Rose Slama told the jury Levi told her he was home and in the shower when her heard a pop and came out to find Tera dead.
"He wasn't in the shower when the shot went off, but he did take a shower after shooting his wife," McKay said.
After more than an hour it was the defense's turn.
"Rose Slama--her testimony should be wadded up like a ball and thrown in the trash," defense attorney David Serna said. "She insults the integrity of a court of law."
Serna then attacked the credibility of Aaron Jones, the lead investigator in the case, saying he lied repeatedly and targeted Levi. After nearly six years of investigating they found nothing to prove Chavez killed Tera, he added.
"They can't even show that he was in Valencia County the 20th or the 21st," Serna continued. "There's zero, zip evidence that Levi was even in the county when this thing happened."
All along the state has said Levi wanted Tera dead because she was telling people Levi staged the theft of his pickup to collect the insurance.
Chavez has maintained Tera killed herself because she was depressed over the state of their failing marriage.
The judge has informed jurors they will begin deliberations starting at 8:30 a.m. Monday.
They of course are not to discuss the case with anyone over the weekend.
Earlier coverage today:
Closing arguments begin in the murder trial of Levi Chavez, the former APD officer accused of murdering his wife then staging it to look like a suicide.
Friday morning, the jury first heard from the prosecution who brought in a fake gun as a prop. Prosecutor Bryan McKay gave a very descriptive re-enactment of how the state believes Chavez murdered his wife Tera Chavez.
"Slams that gun in and pulls the trigger, instantly killing Tera Chavez and then he pulls the gun out and turns it over and lays it down," McKay said in closing arguments.
McKay spoke to the jury for several minutes with that fake gun in his hand. Then he pulled out the gun used in Tera's death.
He then reminded the jury how one witness testified that the magazine was released after the shooting saying there's no way if Tera committed suicide that could happen.
Chavez sat in court showing little emotion as the prosecution painted him as a murderer.
McKay said when Chavez called 911, to report his wife had been shot, he didn't seem like a husband who cared.
"Basically says immediately, wife just shot herself. Tells him he's a cop within seconds. Tells him he wont touch her; he wont perform CPR even though he's an EMT," McKay said.
McKay told the jury Chavez told the dispatcher to send "34s," which the state said is police 10 Code for "officers."
The state argues he didn't try to save her because they claim Chavez killed her with his APD issued semi-automatic Glock pistol and then staged it to look like a suicide.
The defense argument from the beginning advanced by Levi's attorney David Serna has been that Tera killed herself because of the couple's crumbling marriage.
The defense started its closing arguments around 11 a.m. and called prosecutors untruthful.
"Even during jury selection the DA's office admitted were lies, they backed off some of them, others they haven't but im going to show you their lies," Defense Attorney David Serna said.
Serna then tried to portray Chavez as a distraught husband. He told jurors Chavez couldn't look at Tera's face because he felt guilty for cheating and not hearing her cries for help.
"is knowing, is knowing that for years she's been saying, 'Levi, Levi, I'm nothing without you. Levi don't leave me. I'm going to kill myself,' and
he never believed it. He thought it was one of her threats to lure him back," Serna said.
The family of Tera Chavez teared up in court after prosecutors put up pictures of their grandchildren.
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