ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A half dozen APD officers at the murder scene of a co-worker's wife will not face murder charges.
District Attorney Lemuel Martinez says Levi Chavez, a former APD officer, will face murder charges. But his colleagues who were at the Chavez home after Tera Chavez died, are now in the clear.
On October 21, 2007,Tera Chavez was found shot to death in her bed in the Valencia County home she shared with her husband, then APD officer Levi Chavez.
At first Valencia County Sheriff's Deputies ruled the death a suicide. Five fellow APD officers went to the home to comfort Levi and to help clean up the home. That's what got them in hot water.
But D.A. Martinez says because Tera's death was originally ruled a suicide and not a homicide, the officers who went to the home that night didn't know they were cleaning up evidence.
"The scene wasn't declared a crime scene at the time. It had been declared a suicide by Valencia County law enforcement. You know it's difficult to get tampering with evidence charges at a suicide," Martinez said.
Levi Chavez was fired and charged with Tera's murder.
In August, his partner, Russell Perea was also fired from APD, and Nick Wheeler was suspended, both for violating standard operating procedures.
Levi Chavez is scheduled to stand trial in July. He has always maintained his innocence and says that Tera committed suicide.
APD says personnel who violated the department's S.O.P. procedures were disciplined, and that the department remains committed to assisting the District Attorney's office in this case.
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