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Court orders DA to turn over slain deputy’s phone; defense alleges officer had ‘relationship’ with suspect’s girlfriend

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Facundo Chavez appeared in court Friday afternoon with his attorneys.

Chavez is accused of murdering El Paso Sherrif's Deputy Peter Herrera back in March 2019. He faces a capital murder charge.

His lawyers discussed the possibility of dismissing the case, but the judge denied the motion.

Chavez's lawyers asked the court to dismiss the charge based on the Brady rule violation.

Lawyers argued the defense did not provide all of the evidence in the prosecutor's possession. The evidence included cell phone data and the deputy's physical cell phones, both personal and business.

Chavez's defense team argued that evidence could change the outcome of the case. The DA's Office argued that they didn't turn it over because there was nothing of value there.

The defense team also alleged Deputy Herrera had a 'relationship' with Chavez's girlfriend, Arlene Piña. The nature of the relationship was not disclosed, but Deputy Herrera was married.

Piña was a passenger in the vehicle Deputy Herrera pulled over the night of the incident.

Piña and Chavez were both in a relationship at the time.

Last May, Piña reached a plea deal. She was sentenced to 15 years on a reduced charge of manslaughter.

Defense lawyers said they didn't know if the relationship between Piña and Deputy Herrera was platonic or romantic.

They said by obtaining the deputy's phones they would be able to understand the relationship.

On Friday, the court ordered the District Attorney's office to turn over Deputy Herrera's phones to the defense team.

A spokesperson with the D.A. said they would be turning them over in the coming days. They were not able to comment on this case since it is ongoing.

The trial is expected to begin on May 15.

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Rosemary Montañez

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