Man accused of killing Hatch police officer pleads guilty to federal charges

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Jesse Hanes, the man accused of shooting and killing Hatch police Officer Jose Chavez, pleaded guilty Tuesday to five federal charges.

Damien Wils, a spokesperson with Dona Ana County, confirmed Hanes pleaded guilty to attempted carjacking, using a firearm during a crime, carjacking resulting in bodily injury, using a firearm during a carjacking and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

A federal grand jury indicted Hanes on car-jacking and firearm charges in August 2016. In October 2016, Hanes pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges.

In April 2017, Hanes requested a change of venue for his trial citing extensive media coverage, but was denied. Hanes is still facing state charges in connection with the killing.

The Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office said Chavez was conducting a routine traffic stop on Aug. 12, 2016 when Hanes allegedly shot him.

Hanes, with two passengers in the car, sped to a rest stop where officers said he reportedly carjacked and shot a driver.

Chavez was a 2-year veteran of the force. He left behind a wife and two children.

"Whenever a brave police officer like Jose Chavez dies in the line of duty, everyone in the law enforcement community feels the loss," said Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI's Albuquerque Division. "Officer Chavez's sacrifice has inspired all of us who wear the badge to renew our resolve to serve and protect our nation.

Hanes also is facing an unrelated state murder charge in Ohio. Hanes has entered a not guilty plea to the state charges in New Mexico and has not yet been arraigned on the charges in Ohio.

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