City settles in wrongful death lawsuit for officer’s wife
In October 2007, Officer Levi Chavez called 911 to report that he’d found his wife dead in their Los Lunas home. Tera Cordova Chavez had shot herself in the head with his weapon, he said.
According to the wrongful death lawsuit, friends and family didn’t believe it was suicide. The scandal-riddled suit alleges that Chavez killed his spouse, and fellow cops tampered with the evidence, among other things.
The city and APD were on the hook in part due to allegations of destroyed evidence. The lawsuit also says APD should have known Chavez was having multiple affairs with other officers and that he was carrying a tricked-out weapon, leaving his APD-issued gun at home.
Today, the City of Albuquerque settled out, paying $230,000 to Tera Cordova Chavez’ estate. All proceeds will go to her two children. Civil counts remain against Levi Chavez, and a criminal trial may be on the horizon.
Levi Chavez was transferred to the Animal Welfare Department, though he remains on the APD payroll.
The wrongful death suit was brought by the Law Offices of Brad Hall, where the Alibi’s City Council reporter, Carolyn Carlson, is an investigator.