Slain wife's friend testifies in Levi Chavez trial

Posted at: 06/24/2013 10:58 AM
By: Elizabeth Reed,

BERNALILLO, N.M. -- The third week of the murder trial against former Albuquerque police officer Levi Chavez began Monday with a friend of Chavez's slain wife taking the stand.

Samantha Wheeler was Tera Chavez's maid of honor at her wedding. Wheeler testified that they remained close until her death, despite the affair Tera had with Wheeler's husband, Nicholas.

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Police found Tera shot to death in 2007 and ruled the incident a suicide. But Wheeler told the courtroom Tera once told her she didn't guns. She said she couldn't see Tera shooting herself.

She went on to tell the jury that Tera and Chavez had relationship troubles with his cheating since high school. Both Chavez and his wife were known to have extramarital affairs before her death.

Chavez is accused of killing Tera at their Los Lunas home with his department-issued weapon and then attempting to make her death look like a suicide.

Prosecutors say Chavez killed his wife after she found out he staged the theft of his truck for insurance money.