Tera Chavez allegedly dealt with a lot in her marriage to Levi Chavez, the ex-cop who was acquitted in the death of his wife. The Albuquerque, New Mexico, mom's death was said to be a suicide. But one cop, Aaron Jones, always believed that Tera Andrea Chavez' death was murder. More than that, he believed that her husband, Levi, did it.
Dateline NBC is examining the case on their episode "The Officer's Wife." The Dateline episode that previously aired ended with a not guilty verdict. The jury didn't have enough evidence to convict Levi Chavez.On Dateline's Saturday night show, Aaron Jones, the investigating officer will discuss the case, along with Tera Andrea Cordova-Chavez' family and friends. One woman who had a sexual relationship with Levi Chavez and was an acquaintance of the victim will also talk about the case.Being A Bad Husband Doesn't Make Him A Killer
According to what was brought out at Levi Chavez' trial, there was no doubt that he was a terrible husband, the kind that would make any woman feel despair. But Tera was in the process of moving on with her life. She had even started her own affair with another cop after she had decided to split from Levi, Dateline's coverage will reveal.
26-year-old Tera Chavez had been in love with Levi Chavez since high school. They even had a baby together at a young age before finally getting married. But Tera was never able to tame him. Over the years, the young mother was aware of the numerous affairs that Levi carried on with multiple women, and some of the mistresses were acquaintances or so-called friends.
Dealing with that kind of behavior in her marriage no doubt had a serious impact on her self esteem and on her emotional health. Investigators learned that Tera often suffered with bouts of depression, which she chronicled in her old journals.
But according to Dateline, family members say that in the days leading up to her death, she had a new lease on life and was excited about starting her own business and raising her kids.
Unfortunately, she didn't get the chance to do it. In October 2007, 911 dispatchers received a call from Levi Chavez, who claimed that he had found his wife dead in their Los Lunas home on Ash Place.
An autopsy showed that Tera Chavez died from a gunshot wound to the head. A court document found at Law Report outlines the following circumstances in her death.
- Tera Chavez prepared to go to sleep in her usual manner.
- Her dog was put up in the back yard for the night.
- Tera Chavez had put on pajamas and had removed her make-up and jewelry.
- The remote control of the Dish TV satellite was in her right hand.
- Her legs were crossed at the ankles, and she was propped up against some pillows.
- By all appearances, Tera Chavez fell asleep watching TV late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
- APD-issued handgun was laying between her right upper arm and breast.Blood had flowed from the right side of her mouth down her right side, and on to the bedding between her arm and her side.
- Her hands were clean.
- The barrel of the gun went off on the back of her tongue; the barrel of the gun had been shoved four or five inches into her mouth.
It looked like an apparent suicide at first glance, but Aaron Jones believed that someone killed her. He tried to prove it, using circumstantial evidence that he believed would secure a guilty verdict. But his efforts were unsuccessful.
Today, 35-year-old Levi Chavez is living his life as a free man and is studying to be a lawyer. He is also suing Aaron Jones, the detective who brought the case to the jury. Jones made the following statement in response to the lawsuit, according to KOAT.
"I make no apologies for doing my job.We will all have to stand in front of the ultimate judge. I am ready for that day with a clear conscience. I don't know if other people can say the same."Some Troubling Questions to Ponder
- Do you think Tera Chavez took her own life?
- What do you think of all the women, neighbors, fellow cops, and so-called friends who were shamelessly having sex with Levi Chavez behind Tera's back?
- Although Levi Chavez was acquitted of murder, do you believe that he contributed to Tera's state of mind and ultimately her death, if indeed she did commit suicide?
It will be interesting to see just what further update Dateline NBC will include in their story. Watch "The Officer's Wife" tonight at 8/7 p.m. Central on NBC. Take a look at the case of another cheating husband whose wife killed him in an accidental road rage incident.[Featured Image by Russell Contreras/AP Files]