Felon who killed NM officer in 2016 sentenced to life without parole
Las Cruces, N.M.
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Jesse Hanes was a fugitive wanted in connection for an Ohio murder when he fatally shot Officer Jose Chavez

Sep 8, 2017

By PoliceOne Staff

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A fugitive who fatally shot a New Mexico officer during a 2016 traffic stop was sentenced to life without parole Thursday.

Jesse Hanes took a plea deal in May and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for the death of Officer Jose Chavez, KOB News reported. Hanes and passenger James Nelson were wanted for a fatal shooting in Ohio when they were pulled over by Chavez in August of 2016. A hitchhiker who befriended the duo, Tony Jones, was in the car as well.

Hanes reached across the passenger seat and shot Chavez in the neck as he approached to ask for paperwork, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported. Chavez was transported to the hospital where he underwent surgery. He died shortly after. He was 33 and left behind two young daughters. 

The three men fled after the shooting, leading police on a high-speed pursuit. After ditching Jones and Nelson, Hanes attempted to carjack two cars, one successfully, and fled again. He was later arrested.

Chavez’s father, Jose, asked in a letter that Hanes be placed in a maximum-security prison “so that no one else has to go through the pain that I am going through." He also asked that Hanes’ request to be jailed near his family in Ohio be denied because "I will never be able to see my son and I do not think that (Hanes) deserves this privilege ... for what he has done." The judge said he did not have authority to determine where Hanes is jailed.

Nelson pleaded guilty in June to one count of trafficking methamphetamine. Police discovered 61 grams of meth and 30 grams of marijuana during a search of the vehicle. He was sentenced to nine years, but six were suspended. Jones also pleaded guilty in March to one count of possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to two years and six months, but that term was suspended and he was placed on supervised probation for 18 months. Hanes and Nelson’s murder charges are still pending.

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