Suicidology expert testifies in Levi Chavez murder trial

Posted at: 06/26/2013 11:39 AM
Updated at: 06/26/2013 1:17 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed,

A suicidology expert's testimony in the murder trial against ex-Albuquerque police officer Levi Chavez dealt a blow to the prosecution Wednesday morning.

Jurors heard from Dr. Allan Berman, an expert witness flown in to testify for the defense. Berman analyzed Chavez's dead wife's diary, text messages and an alleged suicide note found in the trash can.

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On the stand, Berman said Tera was in a love/hate relationship and that her diary included self-hate statements. He also noted she had a history of suicide in her family.

At one point, Berman began reading statements from the diary—written 3-4 years before Tera's death—including one about alleged abuse by Chavez: "When he hurts me again, I hope he kills me."

"People who kill themselves have blinders on, (they) don't look much futher than the moment," Berman explained to the jury.

"Tera was private and may not have ever told anyone of suicidal thoughts." he said.

The prosecution pointed out that Berman never interviewed or met anyone in preparing to testify in the murder trial.

Chavez is accused of shooting and killing his wife in 2007, and then attempting to make her death look like a suicide.

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