- Associated Press - Thursday, September 7, 2017

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - A 39-year-old Ohio man who pleaded guilty to killing a New Mexico police officer last year was sentenced Thursday to life in prison.

State District Judge Douglas Driggers sentenced Jesse Denver Hanes for the August 2016 shooting death of Hatch police Officer Jose Chavez during a traffic stop.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Hanes will serve the mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole - the maximum sentence available to prosecutors under New Mexico law.

“Today’s sentencing closes the book on an incredibly painful chapter for our community,” said Doña Ana County District Attorney Mark D’Antonio. “While no amount of justice can erase the pain and suffering of the Chavez family, we can only hope that this provides them with some comfort.”

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

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

Chavez was conducting a routine traffic stop on Hanes’ car in the farming village of Hatch when he was shot and killed by Hanes, authorities said.

Hanes, a native of Columbus, Ohio, also is a suspect in the death of a 62-year-old man in Ohio, authorities said.

Born in Juarez, Mexico, Chavez was a student at New Mexico State University. School officials say he was 16 credits short of his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

He became a U.S. citizen in 2011, which was a steppingstone to his real passion: law enforcement.

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