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Family drops wrongful death lawsuit against Levi Chavez

Updated: 12/06/2013 10:43 PM | Created: 12/06/2013 5:08 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Levi Chavez, the former Albuquerque Police Department officer acquitted of murder in the death of his wife, no longer has a battle to fight in civil court.

Tera Chavez's family has agreed to drop the wrongful death lawsuit they filed against Chavez. They said extracting funds from Chavez's household for the lawsuit would only harm their grandchildren.

In July, a jury found Levi Chavez not guilty of killing Tera, but her parents disagreed with that decision.

"Justice has not been served, justice has not been served," her father said at the time.

They hoped to get some justice through a civil case against Levi Chavez. The wrongful death lawsuit claimed that whether Tera Chavez's death was a homicide or a suicide, Levi Chavez was responsible. In July, Levi Chavez seemed confident about his chances with the case.

"Bring the civil case on. I'm not guilty. I'm innocent. Bring it on," he said.

But quickly, trouble arose. After maxing out credit cards to pay for his last legal battle, Chavez told a judge he couldn't pay for this one.

He's now off the hook, but not because Tera's family has changed their minds about what they say Chavez did. It's because, as written in a judgment, they know that he has "no significant collectible assets," and putting more financial stress on his household would hurt their grandchildren, who still live with Chavez.

There were several conditions for the case to be dismissed. Tera's story can't be used for any commercial purpose unless authorized by her biological family, and the money awarded to her estate from a settlement with the city must go toward a trust fund for the kids.

Tera Chavez was found dead of a gunshot wound in 2007.
Levi Chavez was acquitted of murder charges in the death of his wife.

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