Posted at: 07/17/2013 8:54 AM
Updated at: 07/17/2013 1:35 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com
Levi Chavez is waking up a free man after a Sandoval County jury acquitted him of his wife's murder on Tuesday, but his legal battle isn't over.
A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Tera Chavez's family can resume now that the murder trial is over. The civil suit alleges Chavez staged the theft of his truck for insurance money and then killed his wife when she found out.
The family's attorney, Brad Hall, released the following statement about the pending suit:
"I intend to meet with the Personal Representative of the Estate and then the guardian ad litem for the children, and evaluate our options in a week or two, as our schedules permit. There is no particular hurry, and the same evaluation will take place, no matter whether the criminal case was 'win, lose or draw' for any particular party. Its (sic) a legal analysis, primarily, with an eye towards what is best for the statutory beneficiaries. Levi Chavez, the guardian ad litem for Tera's children, and the Personal Representative of the Estate all previously stipulated that the only beneficiaries of any settlement and insurance proceeds are the children."
During the murder trial, Chavez's defense team fought to obtain evidence from the civil case, but the judge prohibited it.
According to the Associated Press, the city of Albuquerque has already paid $230,000 to the Cordova family to settle claims against the police department in this civil case.
Tera was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head in October of 2007. Initially, her death was ruled a suicide, but later changed to a homicide by Valencia County investigators after claims of a botched police investigation surfaced.