New Mexico

Man convicted of killing Hatch police officer sentenced to life in prison

Mother of fallen officer weeps as...

EL PASO, Texas - A New Mexico judge Thursday sentenced the man convicted of killing a Hatch police officer to life in prison.

Jesse Hanes pleaded guilty to the First Degree Murder of Officer Jose Chavez back in May 2017. He accepted the punishment of life in prison without the possibility of release or parole.

The slain officer's relatives spoke about Chavez's love for his job and asked Judge Douglas R. Driggers to hand down the maximum penalty of life in prison.

“As his mother, the death of my son has left an unimaginable emptiness in my heart," said his mother, Maria Ramirez, in a prepared statement read before the judge by a member of the district attorney's office. "However, I will always feel very happy and proud to have had a police officer as a son with such courage as he did."

In August 2016, Chavez was conducting a routine traffic stop in the village of Hatch. After Chavez stopped Hanes, the man shot and killed the two-year veteran of the police department.

“I feel that it has changed my life forever," said his father, Jose Chavez, in a prepared statement. "It’s filled with sadness and tragedy because losing my son has been the worst thing that has ever happened to me. 

Family members said they often called Jose by his middle name, Ismael.

"He always showed love and cared for others," said Lupita Chavez, the fallen officer's sister in a prepared statement. "I know Ismael was very strong, determined, and was more willing to give it it all.”

Chavez had two children when he was murdered.