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I'm Lester Holt and this is Dateline program to see that it was disturbing.


A young, handsome police officer, a young, beautiful wife, somebody that I talked to almost every day is gone. It doesn't make sense. When you hear suicide, no more things about it started stinking, she'd met another man.


Yeah, it's a big, messy triangle.


How many other women besides you would Levi was having an affair with 10. Ten. We got some pretty girl. I hope she had told her boss that she had done something bad. I think the last statement within her diary set it all we knew we would get here.


We just had a lot of hurdles to get over. So, yeah. Here's Josh Mankiewicz with the officer's wife. The life of a police officer. Is full of danger and stress. They have rough days at work and they end up holding it in. They are our first responders. It's hard it's hard work for one called the next, you know what you can meet up with.


But our story is about what happened when the first responder had to face a crisis in his own home in front of a cop pleading for help from his fellow men and women in blue thermocouples. OK. In one moment, a family is shattered. It was like disbelief. It's like a surreal moment. And over time, an entire community secrets would be revealed. I laid there and cried. It doesn't make sense.


It starts here in the village of Los Luna's New Mexico, 25 miles south of Albuquerque. Tara Chavez grew up in a loving family with her twin brother, Josh, and younger brother Aaron. Joseph and Teresa Cordova are the parents.


She was a girly girl, very motherly.


She always was working with drawings in poetry, always writing. Melanie Gonzalez was Tara's best friend growing up. She was amazing. She was shy. I know a lot of times in school people thought that she came off, kind of stuck up, but that wasn't her. Not at all. Then one day at summer camp, that shy girl met the handsome boy who would change her life in so many ways. Levi Charvet. How did she talk about how she loved him?


It didn't take very long before she fell hard for him. He was charming towards her and she thought he was gorgeous.


Tara was quiet and artistic. Levi was a guy's guy. Love basketball and boxing. Their love bloomed in the New Mexico desert. Tara got pregnant while they were still in high school and they got married just before her graduation. He was happy about it, scared as well, just like she was something that they neither one of them expected just happened.


Every time we would see him, they were happy. Michael Romero is Levi's uncle and as a town magistrate, he performed the ceremony on that wedding day. The whole family was there.


Yes, our family was there. It was a joyous occasion. There are a lovely couple. And together they dreamt of the life they'd have. Tara worked as a hairstylist but had bigger goals.


She was really wanting to start our own business. Her own business. Meaning her own salon. Yes.


So she approached me. I'm all for it. I'll be a silent partner. Although she did laugh at me because, Dad, you're not selling.


Levi worked long hours as an officer with the Albuquerque Police Department. It was his dream job in Levi's world. Police work was known as the family business.


His grandfather from his father's side was a police officer and he has four or five uncles that are police officers. And I'm an ex police officer myself. It was a natural police officer. Use natural.


By 2007, they were raising two children, Andrea and little Levi, and had settled into a new house in Los Lunas. But while Levi was out fighting crime in the big city, Tara was finding out that life in the suburbs wasn't entirely crime free. Tara's brother Aaron.


She called me and told us, you know, I think somebody tried to break in my house. So we immediately let's go to the house. We checked and the door did look like somebody had messed with it a little bit. Whoever did that didn't steal anything. But it put Levi and Tara on alert. He says he suggested she keep one of his old duty guns at home to protect herself. We went to live in a tough neighborhood in Valencia County.


In general, I think they have a high crime rate. They tend to have a lot of break ins, a lot of crime there in that area.


And Levi and Tara were about to experience it firsthand. Levi had recently bought an expensive new truck. Late one night, Tara was home alone and hurt their dog bark. She looked outside and the truck was gone.


She said, Hey, guess what? Levi struck, got stolen. And I was like, Well, what happened? Are you OK? Is Levi home? She said, No, he was at work last night.


That made Melanie worry. And it turned out there was plenty to worry about. Two weeks later, on a Sunday, the kids were away visiting Levi's dad. Levi himself had a pretty quiet weekend on patrol. But when he stopped to check on Tara and saw what was in front of him, this police officer found himself on the other end of an anguished call to 911.


One, two, three, the. When we come back, a close knit community reeling with grief and shock. It was disturbing, a young, handsome police officer, a young, beautiful wife, the distraught husband overcome by guilt. It was a blustery October night with high winds gusting over New Mexico's Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque police officer Levi Chavez called nine one one from his own home.


He told police he found his wife lying in a pool of blood in their bed in a panic. Levi begged for help.


They're on their way. They're going to be there for you to go to another room. Like Aaron Jones was a detective with the sheriff's department in suburban Los Lunas.


When I received a call from my sergeant saying that there had been a police officer's wife that had been shot.


It was just after 9:00 p.m. when Jones got to the Chavez home was disturbing.


I mean, it was a young, handsome police officer, a young, beautiful wife, Joan Satara, lying on the bed with a gunshot wound to her head. And he found this Glock 17 by her body. It was the same gun Levi said he'd given her for protection. It was his service weapon.


It was a service weapon that he left at home. Yes. And beside the bed on the nightstand, there was a three word note I'm sorry. Levi Jones quickly determined that Tara hadn't been a victim of crime, but had turned the gun on herself. She was only 26.


We do have a lot of suicides out there. Unfortunately, Valencia County has a high rate of suicides. It's not uncommon, but the uncommon part of it was the fact that it was a police officer's wife.


Within minutes, members of Levi's own police department in neighboring Albuquerque came over to the House to offer Levi's support as the news of Tara's death spread. One officer's wife called Tara's best friend, Melanie.


She just came out and said, it matters dead. And it took me a minute to process it. And I was like, What do you mean? I don't understand.


At the scene, police saw an inconsolable husband.


He kept referring to himself as a piece of crap and other things that he just should have been a better husband and should have just been with her partner.


Heather Jones, the local detective took a statement from Levi, the big city cop who bared his soul to rest for a while.


But he told Jones he blamed himself for Tara's suicide. His wife was prone to drama and depression, he said, but at times he didn't take it seriously.


Now it was too late to help the kids to fix. The detective did his best to bring a weeping Levi under control.


Whatever is going on right now, take a deep breath.


You're trying to make this guy feel better. I am.


I was concerned that possibly my sympathy and empathy was gone to the point, afraid that he might hurt himself.


The officers went through the scene in the bedroom and stumbled on something. Tara, the writer, had kept a journal tucked under her mattress.


Parts of it were very dark, described a young woman that was having some some dark times in her life.


Tara had laid bare the depths of her despair, writing, Sometimes I want to just disappear and I'm depressed. I want to fall off the face of the earth every day. I feel my time and work kids and endlessly trying to make my marriage work. I'm getting nowhere. I never do. That sounds like depression to me. Classic depression. And police found another page of writing that sounded desperate, torn up and buried in the trash can. And Levi showed Detective Jones something else.


I got a text, a text he'd received from Tara earlier that day, says, I'm afraid I'm going to hurt my son.


I'm so, so upset, sad and hurt. Open and shut by 2:00 a.m., police were wrapping up their work at the Chavez house and Detective Jones headed to Tara's parents home to break the news.


He introduced a deputy and the chaplain. He said, it's about your daughter. So I'm already feeling weak. What do you think? I thought there was a terrible traffic traffic accident. I never. Never thought to hear otherwise.


I asked him what happened, and Aaron Jones said it's an apparent suicide, possibly the most painful news a family can ever hear, but the Cordova's weren't prepared to accept it, and they felt a deep conviction that no one outside this family saw coming.


When you hear suicide, would you say no, no way.


That girl loved those children. And I knew right then and there that she would not take her life. And leave those children behind. Coming up, heartbreak and disbelief. It's not the terror I knew I never would have in a million years thought that she would ever take her life.


Was Tara's death. Definitely a suicide to do something about it? Just think about it. Started stinking when Dateline continues.


Family and friends awoke to a piercing sadness in this tight New Mexico community, Tara Chervitz, the wife of an Albuquerque police officer, had died by suicide. I laid there and cried. I couldn't believe it. I mean, somebody that I talked to almost every day. Is gone, and you don't know why you don't understand it, it doesn't make sense.


When Levi's uncle Michael tried to help his nephew that next morning, he says he saw a broken man.


I went and saw Levi and he was in bed and I just didn't know what to say. I just this is the worst thing that could happen to anybody. What did I say to you that I remember he didn't say to you he was too emotional. He couldn't even speak.


But along with the shock to hear his best friend was overcome with a sense of disbelief. Part of me was like, no, this isn't right.


This isn't what happened. Like, they're lying. It's not it's not true.


And that's exactly what Tara's parents were telling the detective who'd come to their house with that terrible news. For one thing, they told him there was simply no way Tara would leave her children. You would not be the first family of a loved one who committed suicide, who did not want to believe that that was possible.


Well, Josh, I don't know about other families, but I knew Tara. I knew. But what about the depressed person who emerges from that diary police found at the scene? Terry's family points out that many of the darker passages in that journal were several years old. Her journal, I think, was an outlet for her just to vent sometimes.


Gina Cordova is Terry's sister in law. I mean, I'm married.


I have kids. Sometimes I just want to disappear. And it doesn't mean that I'm going to harm myself in any way.


And the very last entry three months before death suggests Tara was in fact the opposite of depressed Tara Road. Good bye to the person I used to be. Welcome New Day Happiness.


I think the last statement within her diary set it all happiness.


And her family says she had lots to be happy about. Tara was finally making plans to open that new hair salon she had long dreamed up. She was even starting to look at real estate. She was so excited to do it. Gina says Tara had an appointment to look at this location with her dad scheduled for just two days after her death. She was thinking about how she was going to decorate and how it was going to be, you know, girly.


And she was just really excited about it.


That's the Tara her brother Aaron saw all the time. And he says just two days before she died, Tara had sent him this funny video of her kids. Sounds like you were dancing.


They were they were dancing around the shops being goofy, joking around, you know, and it was pretty funny, actually, nothing on that video to suggest that she was in a miserable place a little second in there on that video that you see here. And she's she's laughing because they're her daughter and her little boy are just being goofballs, you know.


And Tara's best friend, Melanie, reread the last text. Tara had sent her around that same time and saw nothing frightening.


It was real simple. She just said, hi, I haven't talked to you all day. How are you doing?


Doesn't sound like someone in the middle of a terrible depression. Not at all. Could you have conceived of her taking your own life? It's not the Tara I knew I never would have in a million years ever seen or expected or thought that she would ever take her life.


Melanie in the Cordova's say their instincts were telling them something was wrong in that suicide scene at the house and they let Detective Jones know it. I talked to Aaron Jones. I don't think he believed, you know, I'm sure he didn't.


It looked like a suicide, although that's correct.


But something you said to him or some way you said it made him think that he needed to dig a little deeper.


Yes, I promise Terry's mom and dad that I would look at it. I knew that I couldn't just close this case out without without looking at it and and digging into it to begin with.


Jones knew from experience that bedroom scene was very unusual.


Women make up just 10 percent of gun suicides. And he wondered about that recent break in attempt and Levi's stolen truck. Had someone been casing the neighborhood, maybe targeting the officer's house?


I wanted to check and make sure that that there wasn't any kind of indication of any kind of break in or that maybe somebody else had had done this.


But nothing seemed to be missing from the house. And Jones could find no sign of forced entry. Still, he went back to the photos from the bedroom, started noticing things like what appeared to be a swipe of blood on the bed.


What could that smear of blood on the bed sheets indicate? Well, it could indicated the fact that the that she didn't commit suicide and the fact that the person that that fired that fatal round would have had blood on their hands.


And the detective remembered something else from that night that now struck him as odd a red substance in a toilet on the other side of the house. Was it tarots blood? And if so, how did it get there? You're in a situation where someone died. They certainly didn't get out of bed and go bleed in the toilet.


Jones also focused closely on that gun and noticed the patterns of blood on it. To the detective, it looked like whoever had fired it had to be left handed.


The areas of the gun that didn't have blood on them, like a perfect handprint, looked like a perfect handprint of a human hand. A left hand? Yes.


Tara was right handed. Yes. Was it suicide or could it be homicide? Jones turned all of it over in his mind.


He even handled the gun himself.


You physically put a Glock in your own mouth? Well, yeah, unloaded. I know, of course.


The medical examiner, however, had ruled Tara's death a suicide the day after she was found. And the lid on this case might have been shut then and there, but Jones hesitated when it was written as a suicide unless I came up with something pretty contradictory to that, then my job was to write it up as a suicide and close case. And why didn't you just couldn't do it?


Just something about it. Just things about it started stinking.


After three weeks of investigation, instead of closing the case, Jones asked the medical examiner to change the manner of death from suicide to undetermined.


Now, the hard part, determining what really happened to Tara Chavas. Coming up, it didn't take police long to find out that Tara had a secret. She met another man. Yeah, it's a big, messy triangle.


But was it a motive for murder? The more Detective Aaron Jones looked at that scene where Tara Chavas died, the more questions he had. Then, he says, a light bulb went off, something that seemed like the key to the case. Jones says that when he found the gun next to Tara, the magazine with the bullets wasn't locked in place. It had been partially released. Suggesting what? Suggesting that the scene was tampered with. So someone uses the gun to shoot Tara.


The gun recycles. And then what? In putting the gun down or dropping it, they accidentally release the magazine. Well, that's that's that's what I believe. Yes. But if Tara didn't shoot herself, then who shot her? Now, Jones would have to delve into Tara's life and relationships. And soon Jones learned that Tara had a secret. She'd met another man. Yeah. Jones heard from Melanie and others that Tara and her husband had been growing apart for years.


And three months before she died, Tara stepped over a line. His name was Nick Wheeler. Like Levi, he was another handsome police officer in the Albuquerque P.D. Nick would get his haircut by Tara every Thursday, and Sparks flew what drew Tara to this guy, to Nick his personality. He treated her great. Another guy that comes in and is nice to her and shows her attention and shoots are good. And you've got the recipe for an affair.


Exactly. But there was a problem. Tara was married to Levi and Nick. He was married to a friend of ours. Of yours and Tara. Yes, sir. It's a big triangle, messy triangle. Now, that big messy triangle was suddenly part of Detective Erin Jones's investigation and a tricky one. Jones and Nick Wheeler had been friends back in like 2005. We'd worked together in the field. He was a very likable guy. But Jones said he couldn't let that get in the way of his investigation.


He was going to take a long, hard look at his friend and he remembered something that now seemed suspicious. The night Tara was found, Nick had called him digging for information. Probably within an hour of me getting on the scene, I started getting text and phone calls from Nick. Wants to know what? Well, I wasn't sure at first, but he was just asking questions about what was going on. And if I knew anything, was Nick concerned about keeping his affair with Tara under wraps or something else?


Melanie told the detective that Tara had broken things off with Nick before she died and told Melanie that it had not ended well. She just told him it's not right. You know, we're both married. What we're doing is not a good thing for conscience. Mm hmm. He didn't want to let her go. Didn't sound like it. Now, Jones thought Nick could be a potential suspect. So he and another detective visited Nick's home and didn't tell him the conversation was being recorded.


Nick quickly admitted the affair. His wife, Samantha, was right there to hear all of it. There going be things you have to change of. But here it just. Detective Jones found himself witnessing the kind of domestic argument that investigators usually hear about only after the fact.


I have to say. We're safe sleeping here tonight. Well, how did you touch it? Well. Because you wanted to kiss her, then Samantha said something that surprised Jones, she had known all about the affair because Tara had confessed and apologized.


She some nine. And I told her, I said, I'm not going to say anything until it tells you, because that's his responsibility as a husband. She said she would make sure she wouldn't go after a bitter asked, never do it because I understand where she was coming from.


So if you believe that the two women in this love triangle had made peace, if you believe that, did you think it was possible that either Nick Wheeler or his wife had killed her?




Let me ask you a question. Did you kill. I really loved her. Really? I did. I did.


That left one more question about the man in the middle, Nick. Where was he that weekend?


Tara died laughing and a body for electricity. Thought he was a. After he was her alibi and she was is pretty much yeah, and that doesn't necessarily mean anybody lying sometimes that's the way it works out. It is because they were a couple. And I knew from experience with them that they spent a time, you know, either with friends or family or with themselves at home.


The investigator says he didn't dismiss the Wheelers as potential suspects, but he had no evidence to link them to Tara's death. So Jones started focusing on the man any detective would need to look at.


Tara's husband, Levi. And Jones says there was plenty to examine.


Their whole relationship seemed like it was just a roller coaster.


Coming up, investigators find out that Levi had a lot more to hide than his wife did. In fact, when it came to cheating, they've never seen anything like it. How many other women besides you with Levi child is having an affair with Ted?


When Dateline continues. If Terri Chavez's death was homicide and not suicide, then her husband, Levi, would be a natural suspect. And it didn't take long for Detective Aaron Jones to find out that when it came to Levi Charvet, the Albuquerque cop, there apparently was something about a man in uniform, which was a very charming guy. He's a very charming guy. He clearly knows how to talk to women. He clearly does. There's no evidence that Levi knew about Tara's brief affair with Nick Wheeler.


But it turns out that Levi was carrying far more secrets than his late wife had. Levi had been cheating on terror, but that doesn't quite tell the story. Levi Chavas was racking up so many infidelities he could barely remember some of his girlfriends names. Terry's friend Melanie says that kind of thing had been going on ever since high school. And it wasn't just one girl, two girls, it was numerous girls. So he never really stopped. Now, Detective Jones tracked down this woman, Rose Slama, a married mother of three.


Rose says that at the time of Tara's death, she and Levi had been sleeping together for two years. By the time I came out of a shocking number three. Number three, you were the third fairy there? No, I was on him and his phone when he opened it up, I was number three on his phone speed dial. So Levi was open with you. Not just that he was married, but that he, in addition to being married, in addition to having an affair with you and another girlfriend, someone who was, well, a little higher up in the hierarchy than you were and you were OK with that?


Yeah. Juggling multiple mistresses while married was apparently nothing new for Levi. And Rose said Levi's multitasking skills made it all possible. How many other women besides you would leave my child as having an affair with 10 10? Yeah. You and nine other women? Yes. How did Levi find the time to be with 10 different women and still presumably also, you know, fight crime? We were actually almost neighbors that really close to each other. That would be essential in a situation like that.


Yeah. You couldn't have like a one hour commute to see somebody because when there's like nine others and I think a couple others lived around us. Where did you leave? I usually meet up on the running trail, the kids school, my school, the duck ponds between our houses. So there was a lot of meaning about doors. Yeah. And they even if I went to his house and the kids were there, he would just pop in a movie and have the kids watch a movie and we would take off and do adult things.


And Rose says those adult things didn't have anything to do with love. I didn't love him. I just this was just sex and just sex. But listen to this. One time when Rose and Levi were together at his house, she noticed a photo near the bed. I put two and two together and had asked me why, and he said, yeah, we're married. Rose recognized the woman in the photograph because she knew Tara and had just figured out she was sleeping with her hairstylists husband.


And you say, great, honey, lie down, not I got to get out of here. This is weird. It was a little weird and my life, but there was seem to be no love lost between. I was like, no love there. So. I don't care, Rose told Detective Jones a lot about her affair with Levi, but didn't seem to know anything useful about Tara's death. So Jones turned the others on Levi speed dial, including Heather Handy, a fellow cop in Levi's department.


In fact, she'd been on cops. The TV show as well as Yanan returned fire.


But Jones interviewed Heather, but she didn't seem to have any leads. So he found Levi's more serious girlfriend at the time, another cop named Deborah Romero. I think she believed that Levi was going to be the real deal for her.


Levi had admitted to Jones in their very first conversation that he'd been with another woman the night Tara died. Now, Debra Romero would become a key part of Jones's investigation as he began to track Levi's whereabouts that weekend. He said he hadn't been home until he discovered the body. All right.


The detective believe Tara had been killed sometime on Saturday night. And Levi's story was that he'd been on duty until midnight and then went to Deborah's house. Jones went to talk to her.


What is the first first recording that you have of seeing him physically at your house? Well, when I woke up, she came on to the bedroom. Uniform, Deborah confirmed she was with Levi from the time he got off work that night until the following evening, he was always above the fray.


So Mistress' as an alibi, maybe not a squeaky clean defense, but for now at least, their stories were in sync. He loved to dance, but Jones still had questions for Levi. So the next time Levi came to his office, Jones set up a camera to record their conversation without Levi knowing he wanted to see, Levi would react to the suggestion that Tara had not killed herself. Seems like you got caught him off guard.


I did. I wanted to make him know that I had some concerns about some of the behavior that was going on.


At first it was all pretty routine. But whatever you need, I mean, I understand. I do nothing.


Then Jones told Levi he suspected Tara had been murdered.


Levi. Do you understand why this whole thing looks like. No. I mean, I really don't want to walk in your house that night, and I really, honestly believe it's a suicide. But the problem is, Matt, as to why somebody killed your wife. I don't know. I hope that bottom line, it's easier to tell the kids that and really what really has what I think happened. But I can tell it's possible. I, I think I saw something.


Jones tells Levi he has some questions about all those women from his duties to he.


What it looks like is this. If you've got something for your girlfriend. I know. I mean, you're like you don't remember. You got you got something. You don't know their names. I told you that. I know.


And how am I being told that you're like a major review to everybody, Major Romeo, who said he still cared for his wife despite all those infidelities.


She she's my partner. Like, yeah. Like you might not be a business partner or parent raising partner. Said if I ever been to someone, she almost looked like she was your daddy or, you know, I'm sorry, man. If you let me apologize for my husband. I know. I don't know what's wrong with her. I'm divorced. You trust me. Bad husbands. I have to.


I'll probably take the cake. I don't know what how you did. I mean, I was thinking, but I and I think it is that he admits to some of the affairs.


She admits to being a bad husband.


But, you know, murderer. I don't see a guy who looks tremendously guilty there, but. But you do it well, not necessarily over just that. I mean, it was the totality of everything.


That's because the totality of everything for Jones included some startling information. He was getting something Tara's family and friends say she told them just before she died. Coming up, she made a couple statements to me that if anything ever happened to her, that Levite did it. It took me a while to even think, oh, my God, maybe she was right.


Did Tara have a premonition about her own death? The family of Tara Chavez never believed she took her own life, and they also didn't buy her husband Levi story about how he found her.


There were a lot of just suspicious things.


Nothing added up to tell his sister in law, Gina. The so-called suicide note found on the bedside table just didn't make sense, mostly for what it didn't say.


I thought my first thought was like, I want to read it because I want to see it.


And the note says, I'm sorry, Levi, but it doesn't mention her kids. Can you conceive of her writing a note like that and not mentioning her children?


No. She wouldn't have left her kids. She would not have left her kids.


Detective Jones had come to agree the one sentence didn't seem like a suicide note, at least not one Tara would write. She was a very expressive person. You would have expected a more detailed and more expressive note. Absolutely. Tara's best friend also told the detective that the behavior of the Levi she knew was much worse than the philandering. He had admitted that he would break her down so bad verbally. He would tell her all the time that she was worthless, that she was nothing without him.


Tara tried to keep it to herself, but especially from her dad.


We didn't like seeing our daughter go through what she was going through with Levi and being the father and wanting to fix everything. I think it created this curtain of don't let dad know.


But in the months before she died, Tara did tell both of them she was getting fed up with Levi and was ready to end her marriage.


She just told me she was going to be OK and the kids are going to be fine. They were going to be getting divorced and she was going to be moving forward after Tara's death.


The Cordova's say Levi never appeared to be the grieving husband, but instead seemed cold and distant. By the time of Terry's funeral, they say Levi had already wiped away all traces of his dead wife.


Every thing my daughter did in that house was either in a box. Or somewhere somewhere else, it was in and out, so the longer we were there to pick out clothing for a viewing, that was going to happen Wednesday afternoon and there was nothing left. There was nothing.


Does that move boxes of the person that made that house what it is? Within 48 hours, but in 48 hours, she was gone. It made the family wonder if evidence of Levi's guilt was also being boxed up and hidden, especially when they learned that potential evidence from the house had been destroyed the night Tara was found. Remember that red substance Detective Jones saw on the toilet that night? It turns out that never made it to the crime lab. Were you able to collect that evidence?


No, because.


Because it had been flushed by Albuquerque. Police officer was in the house. One of Levi's friends had come over to offer support. Well, friends, co-worker. So was it was blood.


Was it even blood? We're never going to know.


No, we're sure not. And that betting with the mysterious blood swipe was also removed by APD cops. Terry's family couldn't shake the feeling that Levi's fellow officers from Albuquerque might have been helping out their friend and that the local investigators in charge should have stopped them as extremely angry with the village county sheriff's department office.


Beside myself with them, how could you allow another agency to come into your jurisdiction and ensure that house the jurisdiction of the man who found the body?


Yes, Detective Jones says there's no evidence of a conspiracy or cover up, and he blames himself for not immediately treating the house as a crime scene. Because of that, he was forced to work backwards to find both evidence and a possible motive. And soon he found something interesting, a life insurance policy that covered terror.


How much money would we get in the event of the death of his wife?


One hundred thousand dollars. What about if it was a suicide? Hundred thousand dollars.


And Tara's family told the detective that the couple headed for divorce, had been having financial problems. But the main reason Tara's family and friends believed Levi had something to do with her death is this.


She had made a couple statements to me that if anything ever happened to her, that Levi did it. Did you take that seriously? Obviously not serious enough. It took me a while to think, oh, my God, maybe she was right. And her mom said that a few months before she died, Tara told her the same thing.


She did tell me if anything ever happens to me, Levi did it. And immediately after she was OK and if the kids were OK. And she told me everything was fine, but why say something like that? I couldn't I couldn't tell you why she said that.


And she did tell me that Tara told her mom not to worry and not to say a word to her dad. And you didn't tell and I didn't tell him.


I don't blame my wife for anything turning me. Well, she knew that I would. Interviewer Is there any part of either of you that thinks that Levi might not be responsible for this? No, no.


Now the family and the detective were on the exact same page.


You didn't believe Terry had killed herself? No. You thought Levi killer faked it, made it look like a suicide? Yes, sir.


But the feeling that Levi was responsible for Tara's death wasn't widely shared in law enforcement, largely because Levi had that alibi. Deborah Romero, a fellow police officer who said they were together that night.


Jones wanted to interview Levi's police co-workers who'd been on the scene that evening and his many other mistresses for more information. But some were talking. After a year, the investigation had reached a standstill.


I was allowed to officially work the case for some time, but after that, I. I worked at when I could and however I could.


Levi's uncle and family of cops felt Jones's investigation was pure witch hunt.


When the police start to focus on Levi, what do you think when you mentioned police? My thought is not police. It's Erin Jones. You think this is all all Eric Jones. He was driving the bus here. He was driving and he was the only one in that bus on the highway.


While Jones's bus was stalling, the Albuquerque press corps rolled on with the story. Even though no arrest was made. Levi was put on administrative leave at his job and remained the one and only person of interest in the case.


To be honest with you, they didn't have a case and I think they were trying to make the buyout look look like a bad guy. So maybe he's not a good husband, but he's not a murderer. No, he's definitely not a murderer. She took her life and theby found her.


But Jones refused to give up and was determined to dig up new information any way he could. He began to think outside the box and suggested something highly unusual. I told the court time, if you got to sue me, sue me, you got to sue somebody. But in order to get some answers on this case, you're gonna have to file a civil suit. So they did a wrongful death suit against Levi, the city of Albuquerque, and members of the Albuquerque Police Department claiming they had all played a role in Tara's death.


It was a huge fishing expedition, but would they catch anything?


Levi's first testimony under oath and one of his girlfriends tells a new story of what happened the night he found his wife's body.


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So for their civil suit, the family's lawyer subpoenaed more than 50 people for depositions with the hope of learning something new. Please state your name for the record, Levi Jarvis.


Levi was called in to give a videotaped deposition.


We are aware that Officer Wheeler was seeing your wife.


We're going to object to he'd always been cooperative with police in the past. But this time Levi was under oath. And now, as his lawyers invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination, Levi was far less chatty.


When do you remember receiving an alleged text message from Tara saying she might hurt herself? We're going to assert the same privilege as to that.


So little was learned from Levi that day. But attorneys also put his talkative mistress, Rose Slama, under oath. And in her deposition, she revealed something she had never told police and later told us.


The night that I had talked to him and I texted him, he's like, my wife just died. And I was like, well, what happened? And he was like, well, I don't know. I was in the shower and I heard the pop leave.


I told you that he was there in the house, in the shower and heard a pop.


And then when he got out, he had found her at Levi's story to investigators had always been that he'd been with one of his other girlfriends, Deborah Romero, that night, and only found Tara dead when he returned home to check on her. But this story, Rose says he told her, is quite different. You know, you're the only person that tells that story. Yes. You're sure that's what he said to you?


I'm absolutely, positively sure.


This new story was puzzling to Jones, but it did match one thing the detective recalled seeing at the scene a wet towel. And Rose had even more to reveal in her deposition. Remember, she'd been sleeping with Levi, but had also been a client of Tara's at her salon.


Presumably you chatted with her the way women do with their hairstyles.


And it was this double edged role as Parramore to live on and as it turned out, confidant to Tara that would put Rose Slama at the center of this investigation and lead investigators to a possible motive. The last time she saw Tara Ross says Tara told her something odd about that truck that had disappeared from the family driveway. You had a conversation with Tara about Levi's truck being missing.


We were talking and I was like, well, you know, what's going on with the truck? And I was heard anything about it. And she's like, I didn't come up stolen. I was like, what do you mean a Castillon? Rose says Tara told her the story of the truck being stolen had been a lie and that she believed her husband, Levi, the cop, was mixed up in something very illegal.


She said that if I had some friends take it to claim the insurance, so he had the truck taken.


So Tara was very upfront with you that she thought that the truck's disappearance was part of an insurance scam by Levi.


And she told me she was going to call the police and tell him. And when she later saw Levi, Rose says she told him his wife thought that he was involved in some kind of scam. What was Levi's response when you told him about said she didn't know what she was talking about? We want to maintain the drug was legitimately stolen. Yeah. Still, if Tara was telling Rose she thought her husband was a criminal, what might happen next?


I believe he was scared because she was going to turn him in and he had a lot to lose.


To Detective Jones, that sounded like a reason for Levi to want to make his wife disappear. And he found more evidence to suggest Tara was planning to report her husband. Six days before she died, the New Mexico Insurance Fraud Bureau received a tip about a fake stolen vehicle. The investigators notes say the caller's name was Sarah, but later said he thought it could have been Tara. And in fact, the woman's contact number was for the salon where Tara Chavez worked.


What did you learn from people who was at that salon about three days prior to her death? She had told her boss that she had done something bad and that if she ended up dead, Levi killed her.


I feel a sense of responsibility. Four, it turns out, because if I never said anything about the truck to leave, yeah, then what then?


I believe as the court of a civil lawsuit wound its way through court, Detective Jones retired from law enforcement. But the revelations that came from the suit jumpstarted the investigation into Terry's death and eventually caught the attention of prosecutors.


Assistant D.A. Brian McKay, you thought the truck was a motive?


We think the truck was the motive in a really simple sense. And he's just moved to APD. He's wanting to move up the ranks. I'm sorry. You know, the brass is going to do something if everyone's going around your wife's reporting that you're committing fraud.


All of the defendants except Levi settled there, parts of that civil suit denying any liability. But the court of a family got what they really wanted. In April 2011, more than three years after Tara's death, Levi Chavas was charged with her murder.


Coming up, Levi Chavez goes on trial. Will his alibi hold up in court?


Is there any way for you to actually know what time he got there? I do not know. In June 2013, Levi Chavez was to stand trial in a New Mexico court for killing his wife, Terry. He'd been out on bail, fired from his job as an Albuquerque cop after he was indicted. The trial for an LAPD officer accused of killing his wife is finally underway. Tara's family and friends thought justice was near. Was there a time when you thought Lee was never going to be prosecuted?


Uh, no. We we knew we would get here. We just had a lot of hurdles to get over. Levi's family saw the trial very differently as a chance to clear his name and theirs. You ever of any doubt as to whether or not it was capable of this? I have no doubt from day one, I was one that was, you know, advocating that there's no way there's no way that he could have done this. All right.


Two families once joined by marriage could now hardly look at each other as they sat on opposite sides of a courtroom.


The state set out to prove Levi, the cheating husband, killed terror and staged her suicide to keep her from exposing a big secret.


This was not a suicide.


It was a purely circumstantial case. But lead prosecutor Brian McKay thought he had more than enough to brand Levi a cold blooded killer.


So the perfect homicide equals suicide.


You begin by talking about the perfect murder that what you think this was?


Yeah, a cop nose, a suicide. If they're convinced early on that this is a suicide, it's closed. It's over, it's done. There is no investigation.


Prosecutors thought a big part of their case would be Levi's alleged involvement in a stolen truck scam. Rose Slama came to court to testify about what she'd heard.


I had asked her about the truck situation and she had told me that Levi had had it still infarctions.


Prosecutors told the jury they would prove this was Levi's motive for murder.


He knows Terry's telling people that he is involved in some kind of a fraud. That's bad news.


But the state couldn't really deliver on that supposed motive. Levi always maintained the truck really was stolen and fraud charges were never filed against him. So the judge wouldn't allow any testimony in a trial that would back up Rosa's story. The jury also never heard family or friends testify. The terror thought Levi might hurt her, perhaps over the truck. All of that was hearsay.


Still, Mackay and his cocounsel and Keehner believe they had much more evidence against Levi and made his infidelity the centerpiece of their case.


They said Levi had simply grown tired of Tara.


How would you describe him? Levi Chavis was a is a very me centered person. Everything about Levi is about Levi.


Among the mistresses who arrived in court was Katrina Garley, a Verizon store clerk. Levi met shortly before Tara's death. They began an affair the day they met, and a few weeks later they were in bed together again in the same home where Tara had died.


When you went to the residence, did you have a sexual encounter? Yes, I did. Do you know if the children were there? He said they were, but I did not see them.


Next up, a fellow APD officer, Regina Sanchez. Tara had called her when she learned Regina had been sleeping with Levi.


The nature of the phone call was to pretty much just get mad at me, ask what was going on? Was she upset?


Yes, very.


And investigators showed that not long after that phone call, someone had typed in a Web search on Levi's computer how to kill somebody after the how to kill somebody.


Search the. There was a Web page that was visited and that's on how to kill someone.


The state's implication that Levi thought murder might be easier than divorce.


The prosecution said Levi had grown tired of terror.


That computer shows you that something's going on. He tells terrorists she's holding him back, calls her worthless piece of skin.


And the prosecution suggested Levi had a plan to get rid of terror for a new girlfriend, Heather Hindy. She was the other Albuquerque cop who got to know Levi in the weeks before Tara's death.


You had indicated that you didn't start a sexual relationship until the end of November of 2007, correct.


Sixty three days after Tara died, the man who once tearfully told Erin Jones he would never get over his wife's suicide gave Heather a diamond ring. And when did you get married?


July 5th, 2008.


The official story is that Heather and Levi met just a couple of weeks before Tara's death, but things didn't evolve until long after Tara's death. Knowing what we know about Levi, do you believe that? No, I think she was the ultimate goal.


And the state had something else. Deborah Romero, the mistress who had been Levi's alibi, now took the stand to testify for the prosecution.


I actually think he called me that evening. Romero originally told investigators Levi was with. Her right after his shift ended during the period when it's believed Tara was killed. Now, years later, she testified that she couldn't be sure when he arrived at her house.


Is there any way for you to actually know what time he got there?


I do not know.


According to the prosecution, Levite got off work at midnight and did something that his cell phone records show was highly unusual.


He shut off his phone for 15 hours on October 21st after midnight, 2007. The defendant turned his phone off.


His phone's off for a longer period of time than it had been on a very long time. Yes, that was a huge piece of evidence because of the timing. I mean, really, that's the only time this big break and it happens to be when your wife's killed.


Prosecutors then laid out for the jury exactly what they believed happened that night. They said Levi got to the house and walked inside to the bedroom where he found his wife asleep, slams that gun in and pulls the trigger.


Instantly killing terror. And then he pulls the gun out and he turns it over and he lays it down, and then and then at that point in time is when he hops in the shower.


OK, so the gunshots heard comes out nothing, nobody's responded tão, that's what he sends that text.


Prosecutors said it was Leevi who sent that text from Tara's phone. I'm afraid I'm going to hurt myself. I'm so upset, sad and hurt. It was the text Levi would later show investigators, but Detective Jones took the stand to describe what he believed was Levi's one mistake.


Did you push the magazine release in this case? No.


Detective Aaron Jones testified how he had found the gun at the scene with the magazine already released, the state called experts to the stand to say that if Tara had shot herself, she wouldn't have been able to release it.


I found this book better than five pounds of direct pressure in order to release this magazine.


And prosecutors believe the person who did release the magazine was Levi, the cop. They said Levi's perfect plan wasn't perfect.


After all, this is not a suicide. Terror charges, but the defense was ready to tell a very different story, one of a lovesick woman in a spiral of despair. Coming up, the case for the defense, starting with a cross-examination of a lead detective. Turns out he had a troubled past.


Tocumwal basically found you mentally unfit to be a police officer. That's what he ultimately said. Yes.


When Dateline continues, it seemed all of Albuquerque was transfixed by the sex drenched narrative that was the Levi Chavas trial.


Prosecutors argue the former police officer killed his wife and staged it to look like suicide.


Now, it was the defense's turn. Their first argument, the reason investigators initially thought Darren took her own life was because she did. Defense attorney David Srna.


It was called a suicide because their own investigators whose job it is to go and see what kind of death it is, called it a suicide.


Stating what he knew the jury must have been thinking Srna admitted Levi was a failure as a husband, but said that didn't make him a murderer.


He was completely unfaithful to her in just about every way possible. Just about every opportunity. Absolutely.


But, you know, he talks about Tara being his partner. She was his partner because they had gone through so much that had children together all along.


Levi's family felt the investigation into Tara's death was flawed and fueled by an obsessed detective.


When one theory came up and it didn't pan out that he had another theory. I think in police work, you've got to have evidence. You have to have something that we can hold on to.


In a series of testy exchanges, the defense tried to discredit Aaron Jones on the stand, thought as a world class cop, maybe you could or were clairvoyant as well.


I'm working on it.


I know you. I bet you are. I have no doubt of that.


Srna Grill Jones about his work history, turns out he'd been fired twice and formally reprimanded for his handling of cases, including one that caused Jones to be written up as unfit for duty, not for basically found you in a five page report, mentally and physically.


At least he tried, but that's what he ultimately said.


Yes, Jones was later found fit to serve and left law enforcement voluntarily. But the defense argued his troubled record cast a cloud over all his police work.


How important was it to sort of chip away at Aaron Jones credibility? It was absolutely necessary.


It was absolutely necessary that the jury, Karen Jones for what he is, remember Jones theory that the blood pattern showed that the shooter was left handed while Tara is right handed? That theory never made it into court because it couldn't be backed up with forensics and that insurance policy covering suicide that Jones found suspicious. The defense showed it was an old policy that had been in place for years through Levi's military service.


My client never changed the amounts or coverage or clauses or anything of his insurance policy. Right.


I didn't know that then. And to cast more doubt on Jones's investigation, the defense suggested he never really took a serious look at Tara's lover and his former buddy, Nick Wheeler.


So they never got they never took your DNA. Did they take fingerprint exemplars from you? No, sir.


In the end, the sheriff's department concluded there was no evidence that Nick Wheeler or his wife had anything to do with Tara's death. As for Rose Slama, I actually scratched it and that was it. You had an itch and he scratched out that.


Srna argued Rose couldn't be trusted. In fact, she was facing felony charges of her own.


You were arrested for fraud over two thousand five hundred dollars, right? Yes, sir. And forgery, over two thousand five hundred dollars, right? Yes, sir.


The defense suggested Rose made up the Leevi stories hoping for leniency with her own legal problems, which she says all stemmed from a messy divorce. She would later plead out to lesser charges and get probation. But Rowe swears all her testimony was the truth.


I got no deal. I testified because it was the right thing to do.


And the rest of that parade of mistresses, the defense argued those women only bolstered Levi's case, proving he was a lousy husband in a crumbling marriage, which gave Tara ample reason to be depressed, even suicidal.


It wasn't a good husband and he wasn't there. And he didn't respond when she was making these cries for help. And he feels horrible.


The defense's suicide expert, Dr. Alan Berman, testified all the evidence pointed to Tara taking her own life.


She had a number of both chronic and acute risk factors for suicide.


And the I'm sorry note left on Tara's bedside table.


Dr. Berman said that note was too ambiguous for him to call it a suicide note, but that ripped a page found buried in the garbage. The experts said that had the hallmarks of a real suicide note.


The line I hope you'll be happy now is something we sometimes see in suicide notes.


Originally, the state suspected both notes were forgeries, but their own handwriting expert confirmed. Tara wrote both of them.


So you came back with an opinion that Tara wrote both of these so-called suicide notes.


I don't know what kind of notes they are, but there are those notes.


It's one thing to keep in mind, no expert on either side could say when those notes were written that day. Tara died years earlier. No way to tell. But the weekend Tara died, the defense said there was more evidence of her spiraling out of control.


She called Levi 315 times, and that's the reason Levi shut off his farm, not to escape detection. But to escape his wife, he doesn't want to be having his wife bugging and bugging and bugging him when he's, you know, hanging out at his mistress's house or he doesn't want any record of where he is. Well, now look at this. The prosecution's theory is, is that he knew about all of these cell phone tower pings. Well, he didn't know anything about that at all.


Well, there isn't a police officer in America who doesn't know about that.


Well, he does know that there's going to be a trail of where he is every minute. And I got to tell you, Levi is not a criminal mastermind.


That still left the question of how Tara could have shot herself and then partially released the gun magazine.


The defense hired a crime scene expert to make this video, demonstrating how they believed it could be done.


Magazine released, but when he came to court to do the same demonstration in person, he failed to guard his car.


He worked the trigger and he'd get around to the magazine always. And sometimes I can and sometimes I can't. Sometimes you can get to the magazine ladies and be fired again. But today I can.


Did you think when that's happening, this is like the greatest thing?


Oh, absolutely.


And the fact that he gets up there to show how his theory would work and is unable to do it, you know, once again, went absolutely to what we were saying, she could not have killed herself.


Would that one mistake cost Levi his freedom?


The defense attorney didn't think so because he had another strategy, a surprising and risky move.


The defense calls Levi Chavis. Coming up, Levi Chavez takes the stand and tells his story. A little light on the TV crew we see. We get support from Etsy. I love the holidays, and while I've made my peace with the fact that they're going to look a little different this year, I'm still very excited to get my loved ones some incredible gifts from Etsy. Etsy is perfect for sourcing gifts you can't find anywhere else, from creative handmade pieces to one of a kind vintage to things that are personalized just for the people on your list.


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Teresa Cordova says the woman Levi's defense attorney described at trial was not her daughter, Tara was a very needy person and she was a desperate why I walked out of there.


No, I was horrible.


Attorney David Srna said Tara Chavez was a sad, needy woman desperate for male attention, and the breakup with Nick Wheeler sent her over the edge.


That was really the double whammy because now she thought she found someone else to, you know, latch her star to and he said nope to her. Also latch her star to.


How about, you know, make her feel happy and not cheated on, OK? I mean, there's very little to suggest that Tara was interested in latching her star to anybody.


I think you're right. She wanted somebody that was going to treat her right.


The defense calls Levi Chavis and now the man who everyone agreed had treated her so wrong was going to take the stand himself.


Please spell your last name, Levi Jarvis.


Levi said he and Tara had been living on the verge of divorce for years and she had become lonely and depressed.


Did she express ever thoughts to you like she just wanted to disappear off the face of the earth all the time?


And he said that on the weekend Tara died, he did ignore the three hundred fifteen phone calls his wife placed to him.


She would call now, would just hit the button. They won't be bothered by.


Levi says he worked till midnight on Saturday, then went directly to his girlfriend's house, Deborah was nice.


She was like a nice person. I didn't want I liked her. I don't want I didn't want to take my phone in there and just ringing off the hook and have to explain, you know, it's my ex. I'm sorry. So I just turned it off, so I have to deal with it.


His attorney took Levi through his account of the next day, Sunday. The kids were out of town at his dad's. Levi said he'd gone from Deborah's house to his mom's house where she was watching Desperate Housewives. His mom said she couldn't reach Tara and was concerned when I was talking to my mom.


You know, everything is kind of coming together in my head, like there are threats and. No, and when you say 200 phone calls, what do you mean by threats, like, I'm going to hurt myself, you'll come home with threats to herself? Yeah, OK.


So, like, I had that information and then she just stopped. Corresponding totally, and then my mom said she called in sick and didn't go to work on Sunday. I got. Afraid, he says, fear made him race to the House to check on terror.


I walked in and the house is dark. Into the. Do you need a little time, you need a little break to come to collect yourself? It's OK. So I walked in in our bedrooms to the left. And there was a. A little light on the TV. Could see, he says he instantly knew what had happened and that he was to blame, it felt like I was telling myself like, this is your fault.


It's your fault because I answer the phone. And I was. I blame myself, what emotions were you feeling, guilt, but guilt doesn't even begin to describe it. It's like the God. And I support myself for the first time. If they got this topic, this is all your fault, that is all your fault. After his emotional account of finding Tara, his attorney gave Levi a chance to explain away a series of other prosecution points that computer search for how to kill Levi told the jury that all came from his passion for martial arts.


And I remember looking up how to rip somebody's throat out because I wanted to find out martial art and rose slama.


Yes, they had an affair. But Levi testified the rest of her story was a lie.


Was Sláma told you? Tara seems to think that your truck wasn't really stolen. Did Rosamma ever say such a thing to you? Never.


She never told me nothing like that. I didn't even I don't even know for sure.


Terribile cut her hair and remember how Tara's things were so quickly packed up. Levi said his family did that all on their own.


Did you know anything about family members of yours boxing stuff up?


No, I didn't have anything at all. I remember is the bed was gone to close.


The defense lawyer had two more questions for his final witness.


Did you kill your wife, the mother of your children, Tara Chavis? Absolutely not.


Did you tamper with any evidence to make her death look like a suicide when it was really a murder?


No, I did not. On cross-examination, Prosecutor McKay tried to rattle Levi, grilling him about that text the state believed Levi had faked from Tara's phone and showed investigators.


You thought that was an important text, didn't you? Of course he did. The prosecutor thought it's suspicious that Levi had deleted all of Tara's other texts that weekend.


Yet you deleted every text except that one. I don't know. I don't how am I supposed to know what texts I deleted?


McCain went on to needle Levi as a lying philanderer. The answer that was the old Levi and he was now a changed man.


It's impossible for any person to change in one day.


It was a process and Levi wasn't afraid to interrupt to make his points.


Tell us that I was going to show you. That's a process like I got. Let me speak to my jury, please.


Referring to the jury as my jury early October. I can speak to my jury. Please, Your Honor. No, you need to answer the question.


In nearly six hours of testimony, Levi Chavez tried to show he had nothing to hide and that he did not kill his wife. Turns out Levi didn't do it. Nobody else did it. Tara wrote those suicide notes and they are suicide notes. But would his jury agree? As they begin deliberations, jurors are unanimous on at least one point someone made the comment, can we all agree that Levi Chávez is a dirtbag? But would that influence their verdict?


When Dateline continues.


The trial of Levi Chavez was drawing to a close as the judge charged the jury to deliberate go into the jury room selected foreperson was Terra Chavez's death a suicide or murder if Luna is convicted?


Life in prison? Yeah, like prison or he walks free.


Yeah, behind closed doors. After five weeks of testimony, the jury could finally discuss the evidence.


It's mentally emotionally draining. We spoke to six of the people live. I called my jury. What did you think of him continually referring to my jury?


Oh, I was a little disturbing. Yes. They began deliberating and took a quick vote and realized they were far from unanimous. But they did agree on some things.


All of you know someone who's had an affair. Yeah, yes, yes, yes, yes.


Any of you know someone who's had as many affairs as Levi Javas now? No. Someone made the comment. Can we all agree that Levi Chavez is a dirtbag?


And apparently they could agree on that while simultaneously setting it aside, concentrating on the evidence and not Levi's bad behavior.


But we all felt that we couldn't judge him on his character. It was our job to judge him on the facts that were presented to us.


But some of the comments the state said Levi made about his wife, they couldn't get over.


He called her a useless piece of skin. To me, that meant I'm done with Tara. So that's kind of what made me think. He killed her, they thought long and hard about how Tara was found and about the gun that killed her, they asked for the Glock to be brought into the jury room.


We played a lot with the gun. We put the magazine in. We took the magazine out, we put the magazine in. We compared it to the photos.


After a day of examining the evidence, they couldn't agree.


My question was, what happens if we can't make a decision? I thought for sure there was no way we were too far apart.


The jurors went home for the night and when they came back the next day, they took a vote. Now they were unanimous. The court summoned the Cordova and Chavez families.


I'm shaky. Wasn't quite prepared for that moment not to leave.


I look, he looked very worried before I passed the jury and find out what the verdict is.


I've been observing throughout this trial that there is a lot of animosity in this courtroom. You can cut the tension with a knife in here.


The judge ordered quiet in the courtroom and instructed the families to leave separately after the verdict.


OK, juror number 51. Has the jury reached a verdict? Yes. Can you can you have the very first time? I mean, that your you challenge me right before we find the defendant quite Chavez, not guilty as degree murder charges. Not guilty, Levi Charvet was about to walk free.


Were you looking at Levi at the moment? There were the words. Yes. And all of us were hugging and and so little prayer after his very I mean, it's just like it's over.


But the other family in court listened in agony and quickly left.


Justice has not been served. I immediately put my arm around her saying, get her out of there. And I wanted to get her home.


I was shocked, disappointed and disgusted with our system.


So how did the jury reach that not guilty verdict? Prosecutors, they said, had simply failed to make their case. Several said they were baffled at how little evidence was presented when the prosecution rested.


I was like. Sarah Wheatley's like I was expecting much more from them. I really would have hoped them to take out two of the mistresses and put in something else that would give us more hard evidence. But they didn't.


Many told us they specifically didn't believe one of those mistresses Rose Slama. No, no.


Didn't trust her. No, not at all. Not at all. Would you say don't trust her with a ten foot pole?


Aaron Jones, good police officer. Definitely not, no.


Jones testified that the Guns magazine had been released, but when the jury looked at the photos, they weren't so sure.


For me, no one proved to me that that magazine was unseated. So the fact that the defense expert tried to show how it could be done and couldn't do it, that wasn't some huge fail for the defense.


And remember, the jurors never heard the comments attributed to Tara from her family and friends that if something happened to her, Levi did it. In the end, all of the jurors we spoke with said it came down to reasonable doubt.


One was upset that they weren't able to convict.


And it was not a decision that I wanted to give, but I had to because of the reasonable doubt. So you think we've all got away with murder? Unfortunately, I do.


The jurors that I talked to said they were stunned when the prosecution rested. They thought to themselves, that's it, there's no more. You guys screw this up. No, we gave them the evidence when we were allowed to give in to that was out there. We don't get to create the evidence.


So my question is, was it worth. Yes, yes, even though you didn't get the result you wanted. Yes, yes, we know the truth. You know the truth and Terry's words, even though they weren't heard in that courtroom, they're being heard today.


Guilty. I'm innocent. After the acquittal leave, I charged out of court and straight through the press corps he felt had been harassing him for years. I knew I'd be acquitted. I didn't do anything wrong. I'm not surprised at all. You were the only member of Levi's family who was willing to talk to us. How can we why doesn't want to talk? Well, I feel that the media has really I don't think they gave him a fair chance.


None of my family has ever said anything bad about the court of us. We're all victims and I and I and I really do feel sorry for them. I really do. They can take take this apology from my family, but you know what, Levi's was a is a victim.


His attorney says Levi has no plans to return to law enforcement.


He still lives in the Albuquerque area with his wife, Heather, their young son, and Levi's two kids with terror.


You think we might be a better husband to her than most of their lives?


Being an excellent husband and father, the Cordova's later decided to drop their wrongful death civil lawsuit against their former son in law.


We're all here to remember, Kyra, a few weeks after the trial, family and friends came together in Los L.A. to remember Tara Chavez on what would have been her 30 second birthday for all of those who loved her. Tara is never really that far away.


He'll be in good company if something ever happens to me now when our Josh. I have my baby. She's looking over. My angel. That's all for now. I'm Lester Holt, thanks for joining us. Hi, I'm John Thrasher, and I'm Daryn Kagan, and we're the hosts of Oxygen's True Crime podcast, Martinis and Murder. Are you like us and always looking for a new true crime podcast, a bench? Well, you're in luck. Martinis and murder is a perfect blend of true crime.


Good laughs and of course, delicious drinks that you're going to want to enjoy while listening to the show from high profile cases everyone has heard of to tiny, lesser known ones that have gone under the radar. We are breaking down all the details of a new case every week.


And not only that, we're interviewing some of the biggest names in the true crime world, people like Nancy Grace, Paul Holes, and, of course, the king of true crime himself, Keith Morrison. So what are you waiting for? Come have a drink with us.


Yeah, come join us, download and subscribe to martinis and murder wherever you listen to podcasts.