Life in prison for Ohio man convicted of killing New Mexico officer

Jesse Hanes sentencing on Sept. 7, 2017 (Photo: KFOX14/CBS4)

A 39-year-old Ohio man who pleaded guilty to killing a New Mexico police officer last year has been sentenced to life in prison.

State District Judge Douglas Driggers on Thursday to sentenced Jesse Denver Hanes for the Aug. 16 shooting death of Hatch policeman Jose Chavez during a traffic stop.

Under the terms of a guilty plea agreement, Hanes will serve the mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Hanes also recently pleaded guilty in federal court to federal firearms and carjacking charges.

Chavez was a two-year veteran of Hatch police and a father of two children.

Chavez pulled over a vehicle in the farming village of Hatch that was carrying Hanes and two other people.

Authorities have said Hanes fired at Chavez and fled.

In court Thursday, a victims advocate for the district attorney’s office read aloud three letters written by Chavez’s mother, father, and sister.

“As his mother, the death of my son has left an unimaginable emptiness in my heart. However, I will always feel happy and proud to have had a police officer as a son with such courage as he did,” Maria Ramirez said.

“I know that this has changed my life forever. It’s filled with sadness and tragedy because losing my son was the worse thing to ever happen to me,” Jose Chavez Sr. said.

Chavez’s sister said in her letter that Chavez always had the strength and passion to one day become a police officer.

She said Chavez was kind, wise, and loved his job.

She added that before he died, he wanted his family to know one thing.

“A nurse told us that he said, ‘Tell my family I love them. Tell my girls I love them.' That’s how Chavez was, always loving and strong,” Lupita Chavez said.

Before sentencing, Hanes asked the judge to grant his request to address the Chavez family.

“I’d like to apologize to the family of the officer, and let them know I’m sorry,” Hanes said.

Hanes will serve all of his time in federal prison without the possibility of parole.

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