BERNALILLO, NM (KRQE) - The jury box was empty for day six of Levi Chavez's murder trial, the jury sent home while Chavez's attorney David Serna made some big allegations.
Serna filed an emergency motion with the court Monday morning requesting the court force the civil attorney for Tera Chavez's family, Brad Hall, to turn over any documents he has on the case immediately.
Because prosecutors never subpoenaed Hall, Serna is worried the door was open for Hall to possibly withhold evidence from the state, effectively keeping it from the defense too.
Judge George Eichwald said in court he has similar concerns as well.
"My problem is that the state is relying on information that has been filtered through the civil attorney," Eichwald said Monday morning.
"The motion is full of errors and misstatements," Hall wrote in an emailed statement. "The Estate of Tera Chavez will file a written response and the Judge will sort it all out in a hearing in the morning."
But Serna brought up another big problem dealing with evidence in his Monday motion.
Both the defense and prosecutors learned this morning that Richard Farrelly, the NM State Insurance Fraud Bureau investigator who looked into the alleged theft of Levi Chavez's truck, had a full legal pad of case notes not provided to either side.
On top of that, Serna and prosecutors learned that Farrelly had five boxes of evidence related to his investigation. In his motion, Serna claims neither the DA nor the defense had access to that evidence either.
"Witnesses have already testified, I was deprived of the information I needed to effectively cross-examine them," Serna told KRQE News 13.
One example of that Serna pointed to is Rose Slama, one of Chavez's mistresses and a key state's witness. Slama claimed last week that Chavez's wife Tera told her Levi had staged the theft of his truck for insurance purposes and that she told Levi that information. The state has pointed to that as a possible motive for Levi to murder his wife.
Slama repeatedly denied on the stand that she has a deal with prosecutors for favorable treatment in her own criminal cases.
But Farrelly told attorneys on both sides that when he interviewed Slama for his investigation, she asked for help in dealing with back child support she owed. Farrelly says he called contacts with child support enforcement to help Slama get a payment plan. Serna points to that arrangement as evidence of a benefit Slama received for testifying.
Serna says he's looking into whether the evidence issues are serious enough for him to ask for a mistrial.
Judge Eichwald ordered Farrelly to turn over any documents he has and ordered Hall to explain why he shouldn't be forced to turn over documents himself.
Eichwald put the case on hold Monday and has scheduled an early morning hearing Tuesday to sort out some of the issues Serna raised.
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