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Capital murder trial of man accused of killing an EPCSO deputy begins Wednesday

Facundo Chavez 2023
Facundo Chavez appeared in court for a hearing in March 2023.

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- The capital murder trial is set to begin for a man accused of shooting and killing an El Paso County sheriff's deputy.

Investigators said Facundo Chavez shot Peter Herrera during a traffic stop on March 22, 2019 in San Elizario, firing his gun 15 times, even striking Herrera in the head.

Herrera died from his injuries two days later.

He was 35.

Herrera had recently gotten married and had a daughter. He had worked with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office as both a corrections officer and as a deputy.

Chavez and Arlene Pina, who was dating Chavez and was in the vehicle during the traffic stop, were both arrested in the hours after the shooting.

Her charges were reduced to manslaughter. She pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Pina told investigators that, once they were pulled over, Chavez intended to shoot the deputy. She also said she had told Chavez that Herrera was harassing her.

Sheriff Richard Wiles spoke in 2019 about Pina's involvement during the deadly encounter during a news conference, making reference to Herrera's body camera audio captured during the traffic stop.

"You can hear her make a comment and that comment is in Spanish, but translated to English is, 'Get that ***,'" Wiles said. "She's hiding with (Chavez) and is, um, trying to get somebody to come pick them up so they can escape from the scene."

When Chavez was last in court in March, his defense team had claimed the prosecution did not turn over the deputy's phones to them. The attorneys said the phones might contain evidence to establish what kind of relationship existed between Herrera and Pina.

Herrera's family denies any impropiety by Herrera.

The judge ordered Herrera's phones be released to the defense.

The trial is scheduled to begin at 8:30am Wednesday in Criminal District Court #1.

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Stephanie Valle

Stephanie Valle co-anchors ABC-7 at 5, 6 and 10 weeknights.


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