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Alamogordo man loses high court appeal of murder conviction

April 12, 2021 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — An Alamogordo man serving life in prison for murder and other crimes has lost an appeal.

The New Mexico Supreme Court upheld the convictions Monday of Robert “Bob” Chavez in the 2011 killing of a man whose body was later burned.

Chavez’s attorneys had argued he should not have been tried in 2019 jointly with Matias Loza, who pleaded guilty to murder and other charges.

The state’s highest court unanimously found that a joint trial did not impact Chavez’s civil rights or his defense.

Prosecutors say Chavez, his brother Joe and Loza ran a drug-trafficking gang called the AZ Boys. It originated in the Phoenix area but they moved to Alamogordo.

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All three were implicated in the death of Richard Valdez. According to prosecutors, Valdez was killed the day after an altercation at a restaurant. Chavez’s nephew testified he helped his uncle and Loza beat Valdez before Loza shot him to death. Valdez’s body was then set on fire inside a car. The nephew admitted that Chavez gave him matches to start the blaze. Other evidence included a recorded conversation of Chavez talking about a plan to kill the victim.

The Chavez brothers and Loza were also indicted in 2019 in the 2009 execution-style slayings of Max Griego Jr. and his girlfriend, Mary Hudson Gutierrez.