Deliberations begin in Levi Chavez murder trial

Posted at: 07/15/2013 10:52 AM | Updated at: 07/15/2013 4:35 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com

After a month of hearing evidence and testimony from expert witnesses, mistresses and family members, a Sandoval County jury must now decide whether or not to convict a former Albuquerque police officer of killing his wife.

Jury deliberations in the Levi Chavez trial began at 8:30 a.m. on Monday. An envelope of evidence was brought in at the jury's request this morning, but the contents are unknown at this time.

Prosecutors argued that Chavez killed his wife, Tera, with his department-issued gun and then attempted to make her death look like a suicide in 2007. But the defense said Tera was a "desperate woman" who shot herself because of a failed marriage and affair.

The biggest point of contention in the trial was whether or not it was possible for Tera to shoot herself while holding the weapon upside down and then release the magazine the way the pistol was discovered at the crime scene.

"If there is a smoking gun in this case, it's the unseated magazine," lead prosecutor Bryan McKay said during closing arguments.

But defense attorney David Serna fired back during his closing arguments that Tera showed no signs of struggle in her final moments.

"If you're shoving a gun in someone's mouth, wouldn't that person shake their head or struggle?" Serna said. "If you're shoving a gun in someone's mouth, wouldn't that person shake their head or struggle?"

When Chavez was asked on the stand if he killed his wife, he replied, "Absolutely not."

Chavez's fate now rests with the twelve-person jury, nine women and three men. The judge made it clear on Friday that in order to reach a verdict, the entire jury must agree.

If Chavez is found guilty, he will be taken straight to jail. If not, he will walk out of the courtroom a free man.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 will break into regular programming to air the verdict in the Chavez case and stream it live at KOB.com/live.

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Related stories:

Prosecutor uses toy gun in Chavez trial closing arguments
Medical examiner in Levi Chavez trial: Crime scene did not look staged
DNA expert reveals evidence on gun in Levi Chavez murder trial
More revelations at Levi Chavez trial

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