LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Jesse Hanes, the man accused of shooting and killing Hatch police Officer Jose Chavez, pleaded guilty to First Degree Murder in Dona Ana County District Court Wednesday.
New Mexico does not have the death penalty. District Attorney Mark D'Antonio said that under the plea deal, Hanes accepted the punishment of life in prison without parole. A formal sentencing hearing will be held in September.
"The citizens of Dona Ana county do not have to pay to incarcerate the defendant for the rest of his life because, under the agreement, he'll be incarcerated in federal prison," D'Antonio said.
The Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office said Chavez was conducting a routine traffic stop on August 12, 2016 when Hanes allegedly shot and killed Chavez. The slain officer was a 2-year veteran of the force and left behind a wife and two children.
Hanes, with two passengers in the car, sped to a rest stop, where he allegedly shot a man and stole the victim's vehicle.
Tuesday, Hanes pleaded guilty to federal charges, which included 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.
"I bid the defendant good riddance," said Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Kelly Jameson, "He is no longer a threat to this great state or the citizens of the United States."