ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A man who killed an innocent driver while fleeing from deputies learned his fate on Tuesday, Dec. 21. Jesus Zapata-Beltran pleaded guilty earlier this year to second-degree murder in the death of 66-year-old Robert Chavez.
Now, he’ll spend more than a decade behind bars. In August 2018, Zapata-Beltran was behind the wheel of a stolen car spotted near Coors Blvd. and Iliff by Bernalillo County deputies.
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Beltran lead BCSO on a chase all the way to Broadway and Avenida Cesar Chavez. He was going more than three times the speed limit when he crashed into another vehicle, injuring Chavez.
Chavez was in a coma for 11 days before he passed away. His family spoke on Tuesday about the loss they’ve been dealing with. “Robert was truly the glue that held our large family together. He lived to serve his family and his God and not himself,” said Jackie Peña, family of Robert Chavez.
“There is no reason why we should have lost my uncle. No reason. My uncle was a huge part of our family and now, that’s gone and we’ll never get that back,” said Margaret Pacheco-Adol, Chavez’s niece.
The state asked for 15 years due to Zapata-Beltran’s criminal history including a stolen car arrest in 2017 and another one right before the crash. The judge agreed that his criminal pst shows a lack of remorse.
After he serves his 11 years in prison, he’ll be on probation for another four years. During Tuesday’s sentencing, Zapata-Beltran apologized to the victim’s family.
He added he hopes this sentencing gives them a sense of justice. The family of Robert Chavez filed a wrongful death lawsuit against BCSO. Bernalillo County paid them $700,000 to settle the case.