EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Members of Facundo Chavez’s family took the stand Monday, Aug. 7 as the sentencing phase of his trial resumed.
Chavez was convicted of killing El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy Peter Herrera on Aug. 3.
Chavez’s cousin, mother and Chavez himself pleaded with the jury to not sentence him to the death penalty.
Jose Jimenez, Chavez’s cousin, spoke about the close relationship he and Chavez shared. Growing up in Juarez, Jimenez explained that many family members no longer spoke to him and that it was Facundo who kept in touch.
He said Chavez always was a caring person who loved his family and was unaware that he was dealing drugs.
He then finished his testimony with a statement that said in part:
“I didn’t come here to downplay what he (Chavez) did. What he did was horrible. I’m just here to plead for compassion,” Jimenez said.
Chavez’s mother, Maria Jimenez, also took the stand for a second time during this trial. She was asked questions about her relationship with Chavez’s father, Facundo Sr., when they lived in Albuquerque.
She told the jury that Chavez’s father was abusive towards her and at one point sent her to the hospital with a broken jaw. She described how he forced her children to watch violent acts and that it finally took her sister and Chavez’s godfather to help her escape the relationship and move to El Paso.
When they moved to the Borderland, Jimenez said that Facundo Jr. stayed in school and graduated from Franklin High School in 2009. She said that she never knew her son to be violent before Herrera was killed.
The only instance she knew of where he was arrested was when Chavez was 17 for marijuana possession.
When it was Chavez’s turn to take the stand, he was also asked to describe his childhood from his perspective. He said that he did witness what his mother endured from his father and when he felt he was old enough, he tried to get in between them.
He said that while he did graduate from high school, he moved around a lot after graduation trying to find a suitable job. When he was unable to do so, he turned to drug dealing to make ends meet.
During his four years at the El Paso County Detention Facility, Chavez says becoming drug free has allowed him to to come to terms with what he did to Herrera. He said he understands how valuable life is now and addressed the jury by saying:
“He (Herrera) didn’t deserve any of this. I created this nightmare, I took his life and it was too early.”
The third day of sentencing will resume Tuesday Aug. 8.
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