Man accused of 2014 murder expected in court Thursday

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MORIARTY, N.M. (KRQE) – The man accused of murdering his girlfriend in a Moriarty motel has decided not to take a plea deal after all.

Mark Chavez was convicted of a rape and kidnapping that happened more than a decade ago. But on Thursday, he went before a judge for another crime, the murder of his girlfriend in a Moriarity motel.

Mark Chavez is charged with the murder of Tammy Cessna back in 2014. He went before a judge for a status conference hearing just about a week and a half before his trial is expected to start.

Just a few weeks ago KRQE News 13 learned that Chavez was discussing a plea deal with his attorney. However, in court Thursday Chavez decided not to take a plea deal.

In January of 2014, authorities say his room at the Super 8 where he worked was covered in blood. Cessna’s body was found in her van that had been parked in the parking lot for days and hauled away by Moriarty police.

Just last month, Chavez was convicted of a cold case rape and kidnapping. Authorities say DNA linked Chavez to the 2006 case where a woman was badly beaten with a chain, a wooden board and a window frame. Chavez faces a mandatory 18 years behind bars for that crime.

Thursday, Chavez’s attorney asked the judge to delay trial until the appeal in that case is done. The judge denied the request.

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