A Texas man faces either the death penalty or life in prison without parole after being convicted of fatally shooting a West Texas deputy sheriff.
A jury in El Paso deliberated for about 30 minutes Thursday before finding Facundo Chavez, 31, guilty of capital murder in the 2019 death of El Paso County deputy Peter Herrera during a traffic stop.
Chavez admitted during testimony that he shot and beat Herrera and said he did so because his girlfriend, who was with him at the time, said Herrera had harassed her.
Prosecutors argued that Herrera did not know who was in the vehicle he had stopped for a traffic violation shortly before 2 a.m. because the vehicle was unfamiliar and the traffic stop was in a dark area.
Authorities say Chavez fired 15 shots at Herrera, then beat the deputy with the gun, after getting out of the stopped car at the deputy’s request.
The jury will now consider whether to sentence Chavez to death or life in prison.
Herrera died two days after the March 2019 shooting in San Elizario, near the U.S.-Mexico border on the southeastern outskirts of El Paso. Authorities had initially said Herrera was expected to survive his wounds because of the body armor he was wearing.
Chavez’s girlfriend, Arlene Pina, was initially charged with capital murder in the shooting, but later pleaded guilty to manslaughter as part of a plea deal and is serving a 15-year prison sentence.