Defense calls first witness at Levi Chavez trial

Posted at: 07/02/2013 7:01 PM
Updated at: 07/02/2013 8:28 PM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Highly emotional testimony as Levi Chavez's defense team called their first witnesses Tuesday.  First up was the person who's known Levi Chavez the longest. At one point it got so tough on that witness, he judge had to call for a break.

Lawyer: Do you know the defendant Levi Chavez?

Rita Romero:  Yes.

Lawyer:  And how do you know him?

Rita Romero:  He's my son.

Levi Chavez's mother Rita Romero has had to stay away from her son's trial because she was to testify in his defense. Tuesday, she was first up and admitted to feeling a lot of guilt about her daughter in-law's death.

She told the jury that she would guilt her son into going back to Tera and their two children.

"I could have been a better parent as far as maybe recognizing that it was in the best interest of everyone that they not be together," Romero said.

Prosecutors say there's a 15 hour time period before Levi Chavez made the 911 call reporting his wife's suicide that Chavez's whereabouts are still unaccounted for. His mother told the jury about a conversation with her son that had both concerned.

"I told Levi that I had called the shop and that she was not there. Not only had she called in sick Sunday, or she hadn't called in sick Sunday is what they had told me. She was just a no show," Romero said.

It was then she told the jury that her son got worried about Tera too.

"He just got up, put his food down and said, you know mom, I'm going to the house, and then he left," Romero said.

It was less than an hour after that when Levi Chavez made the 911 call reporting his wife had shot herself in the head. Prosecutors believe Levi Chavez killed his wife and tried to make it look like a suicide.