BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) - An Albuquerque cop accused of murdering his wife has always maintained he wasn't home the night she died in their Los Lunas home in 2007.
However, one of the state's key witnesses, a woman ex-cop Levi Chavez was having an affair with at the time of his wife Tera's death, testified otherwise.
Chavez is on trial for first-degree murder accused of killing his wife and trying to make it look like a suicide.
Rose Slama said her only motivation for testifying was to bring Tera's family some peace. Chavez's Attorney David Serna argued differently.
As Serna continued his cross-examination of Slama Friday, he read from interview transcripts from Slama's meeting with a Valencia County sheriff's detective in 2007.
"(The detective) said you supposedly had information that Levi was in the house when she killed herself. Correct?" Slama replied, "Yes, sir."
Serna continued: "You're answer was, "No. I'm sorry, that's not true. I haven't talked to Levi in several months.' Right?"
Slama replied, "Yes."
Serna hammered Slama about her changing statements.
When then-Detective Aaron Jones interviewed Slama in 2007, she told him she didn't know anything about the night Tera died. She also did not mention that Tera told her about Levi staging the theft of his truck for insurance money.
Prosecutors said one of the reasons the rookie Albuquerque Police Department officer wanted his wife dead was to keep her from turning him in.
Serna told the jury it wasn't until three years after Tera's death, when Slama was facing theft and forgery charges, that she brought up the stolen truck story and more.
"I told them that I had spoke to Levi, and Levi has said that while he was in the shower and he came out of the shower he heard the big bang, and he came out and then his wife was deceased," Slama testified.
Chavez has always said he came home to find Tera's body in their bed with his APD-issued gun beside her.
Slama also testified that she did not love Levi, that their relationship was just about sex and she felt no need to protect him.
Serna pressed Slama on why she did not bring up any of the statements she later made, during a phone call she had with Levi that was recorded by deputies in the weeks after Tera's death.
"During the entire recorded conversation with the police you never said to him anything like, 'What if they ask me what Tera said about the truck?'" Serna said. "You never asked him that question, did you?"
"No," Slama replied.
"And you never said, 'What if they ask me about you in the shower?'" Serna continued. "You never asked him that, did you?"
Again Slama answered, "No."
Prosecutors argued Slama may have kept those details to herself for a while to simple keep the affair a secret. She only provided the new details when she was interviewed under oath for a civil lawsuit surrounding Tera's death, they added.
"Did you think you were going to get some kind of benefit for telling the civil deposition what you told them?" prosecutor Bryan McKay asked.
"No, my only hope in this is to help Tera's family get peace," Slama said.
Slama told the jury Chavez told her the shower story the same night he called 911 claiming he discovered Tera's body.
Serna introduced phone records into the case today that show Slama and Levi did not talk that night.
To that, Slama said it may have been a text or she may have been using her home phone.
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