BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) - As week three of the Levi Chavez murder trial wound down prosecutors started playing up another possible motive for him to kill his wife Tera.
Prosecutors have alleged Chavez's primary motive for shooting Tera, 26, in their Los Lunas home on about Oct. 19, 2007, was his fear that she was about to report him for staging the theft of his truck to collect the insurance.
On Friday another reason came up: Chavez's new wife, Heather Hindi Chavez, a woman prosecutors say he was desperate to be with.
The state called Heather Chavez, an Albuquerque Police Department detective, to the stand to testify in the case.
"He gave you a ring, right?" the prosecution asked, to which Chavez responded, "Yes."
She said Levi gave her the ring around Christmastime but that the two didn't talk about what it meant.
Heather Chavez then told the jury she met Levi for the first time face to face in October 2007 through work but added the two had talked on the phone in May of that year. She said that phone call was strictly work related.
At that time Levi Chavez was still an officer with APD. He was fired after being indicted for first-degree murder.
Heather Chavez said the two did not start a romantic relationship until the end of November or early December after she moved out of her now ex-husband Steve Hindi's house.
That was something the prosecution took issue with pointing to a text message she sent to Levi on November 14, 2007, which read, "mmm detective Chavez with homicide."
Part of the state's theory is that Levi shot Tera with his APD-issued gun in their Los Lunas home and staged it to look like a suicide because he wanted to move onto a new life with Heather.
Prosecutor Anne Keener asked Heather if she ever went to the Chavez home at 11 Ash Place where Tera died to which she responded, "I did"
"Did you have intimate relationship in 11 Ash Place in 07?" Keener asked.
"I did," Heather replied.
Chavez then testified that she helped Levi move some things out of that home in late 2007 as well.
According to her testimony Heather never met or talked to Tera even though phone records show Tera called her in September 2007. Heather said she did not answer that call.
She also testified that she did attend Tera's funeral, saying she had a personal experience with suicide that made her especially empathetic toward Levi.
Levi and Heather were married in July 2008 shortly after her divorce was finalized.
On cross-examination Chavez told the jury Levi and Tera's two kids live with them and that the topic of their mother is not taboo in the house.
She said they tell them stories about how much she loved them, they have photos of her in their rooms and they even celebrate Tera's birthday.
According to prosecutors Levi had his vasectomy reversed shortly after Tera's death, but because of a court ruling, the jury will not hear about that.
Levi and Heather have a 2-year-old son together.
Earlier on Day 14 of the trial the prosecution played a redacted version of a video deposition Levi Chavez gave as part of the civil suit filed against him over Tera's death.
However because of a ruling by the judge earlier in the week, only the audio of that deposition was played.
The deposition covered the gamut from the stolen truck to his mistresses to where he kept the gun in the house and more.
"Isn't it true there's never been any APD supervisor that suggested you should not have girlfriends among APD officers or their spouses?" the attorney in the civil case asked, to which Levi responded, "Yes."
The deposition was recorded in 2009, and the version played in court did not include the times where Levi asserted his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
It did, however, include a statement from Levi that he bought Tera a diamond ring for her birthday in August 2007 saying, "We never really had the money till that time to buy one for her, and we were trying to work things out."
The civil attorney then pressed Chavez on his whereabouts the weekend of Tera's death.
Chavez claimed he left Los Lunas Thursday morning and did not come home until
Sunday when he discovered Tera's body, but his cell phone tower records show he was in Los Lunas Friday morning.
He denied being there Friday under oath in the deposition.
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