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Former Albuquerque officer acquitted of wife's death heading to law school

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ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — A former Albuquerque police officer acquitted of killing his wife in a sensational trial that included allegations of corruption, cover-ups and affairs within the department wants to become an attorney.

Levi Chavez said in court documents he has been accepted into the University of New Mexico Law School's entering class of 2016, the Albuquerque Journal reports (http://goo.gl/Ccc4gL).

Earlier this month, Chavez filed a civil rights lawsuit over the investigation into his wife's death. The federal lawsuit names Valencia County and various officers and officials and says that investigators never had probable cause to charge him in 26-year-old Tera Chavez's death.

One of the defendants, former sheriff's Detective Aaron Jones, said he did his job, but he wishes he and other investigators did a better job of preserving evidence. County officials did not comment.

PHOTO: FILE - In this June 10, 2013 file photo, former Albuquerque police officer Levi Chavez prepares to leave the courtroom following opening statements in his trial in Bernalillo, N.M.  Chavez, who was acquitted of killing his wife, wants to become an attorney. Chavez says in court documents he has been accepted into the University of New Mexico Law School's entering class of 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)
FILE - In this June 10, 2013 file photo, former Albuquerque police officer Levi Chavez prepares to leave the courtroom following opening statements in his trial in Bernalillo, N.M. Chavez, who was acquitted of killing his wife, wants to become an attorney. Chavez says in court documents he has been accepted into the University of New Mexico Law School's entering class of 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

Prosecutors had contended that Levi Chavez killed his wife in part to keep her from turning him in for allegedly staging the theft of his truck to collect insurance money with the help of other officers.

Chavez's trial included tawdry details of affairs within the force and allegations of a sloppy investigation into Tera Chavez's death, which prosecutors alleged was staged to look like a suicide.

Levi Chavez was fired from the Albuquerque Police Department shortly after his indictment, but he was later acquitted of murder and tampering with evidence.

In a statement, University of New Mexico Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid Jeffery Dubinski-Neessen said applicants are evaluated for potential for academic success.

According to the statement, "applicants must disclose any prior charges or disciplinary action taken against them in their application to be in compliance with the school's character and fitness requirements. These disclosures are taken into consideration during the application review process."


Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

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