Grand jury indicts man, woman on capital murder charges in death of Deputy Peter Herrera

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A grand jury indicted an El Paso man and woman on capital murder charges in the murder of Deputy Peter Herrera.

As KTSM previously reported, Facundo Chavez, 27, and Arlene Pina, 20, are behind bars in the shooting death of Herrera, which happened during a traffic stop in San Elizario on March 22.

Pina and Chavez are charged with capital murder of a peace officer. Sheriff Richard Wiles says he plans to seek the death penalty for both.

According to an arrest affidavit, Herrera pulled the duo over at about 1:50 a.m. on Chicken Ranch Road in San Elizario.

The car, driven by Chavez and occupied by Pina, had a Texas 30-day permit, the affidavit stated.  

At first, Pina exited the vehicle as Herrera approached. Herrera reportedly ordered her back in the car and spoke with Chavez at his driver side window.

Herrera told Chavez that he was being pulled over for failure to dim high beam headlights and improperly displaying the temporary permit before asking for his license and registration, the affidavit said.

When Herrera told Chavez to exit the car, Chavez allegedly pulled a gun from his waist area and began to fire at close range. 

The Sheriff’s Office said that one of several bullets struck Herrera in the back of the head. Several other shots hit his body armor, officials said.

According to court documents, Chavez allegedly began hitting Herrera after the shots were fired.

That’s when Pina allegedly got out of the car, approached the men, and said, “Beat that f—–” in Spanish, according to documents.

According to an arrest affidavit, Chavez told investigators that Pina attempted to take Herrera’s handgun. 

Investigators say the blood on her hands showed she had contact with the deputy during the assault.

Chavez’ car later stalled at the intersection of Chicken Ranch and Socorro Roads and the two suspects ran away. Border Patrol agents found them hiding in a nearby shed at about 3 a.m.

Pina initially told investigators there was a third person in the car, which was proven wrong by dashcam footage.

She admitted to lying and allegedly told investigators she didn’t want to get in trouble because she had a restraining order against Chavez and knew Chavez had a gun clipped to him.

She also told investigators she “wanted to get out of the vehicle because [Chavez] told her that he was going to shoot the cop” according to an arrest affidavit.

Chavez and Pina remain in the El Paso County Jail without bond.

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