APD officer indicted in wife's 2007 murder | Crime
An APD officer is still not in jail after a grand jury indicted him for the murder of his wife Thursday afternoon. In fact, his lawyer told KOB Eyewitness News 4 that Levi Chavez was at home Thursday night, with his new wife and two kids, though it may not be for long.
Albuquerque Chief of Police Ray Schultz says Chavez has been put on paid administrative leave and could be fired within 10 days. Since 2007, Levi Chavez has been on and off administrative leave, working at the city's animal shelter. Now, he's once again on administrative leave until his hearing with Chief Schultz where Chavez could be fired. Chavez is not in jail yet because the Valencia County DA didn't want him arrested. Chief Schultz said, "I believe, uh, I think he's gonna turn himself in but I'm not exactly sure how that's gonna work."
Just months ago, the family of Tera Chavez received a $230,000 wrongful death settlement in civil court. They claim Chavez pulled a suicide clause out their life insurance policy just weeks before Tera was found dead.
The suit also accused APD of destroying evidence in the case, something Chief Schultz says did not happen. Instead, he says, "There were mistakes made, but the mistakes made on the original evening of this event were made wholly and solely by the Valencia County Sheriff's Department." The city says it paid the settlement for economic reasons, not an admission of guilt.
Meanwhile, the DA is not releasing information on the case, but Chavez's attorney, David Serna, is confident his client's name will be cleared. "We have a host of witnesses, from all across the country, and from outside the country who are leading experts, in their field, who the grand jury did not hear from, and when that truth comes out we expect the answer will be clear," Serna said.
Chavez is scheduled to be arraigned in court in about two weeks. If convicted, Chavez faces up to 30 years in prison and the death penalty has not been ruled out.