Man accused in Hatch officer’s murder facing federal charges

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Federal investigators have set their sights on the man accused of murdering a Hatch Police Officer.

Jesse Hanes
Jesse Hanes

New filings detail what led up to the shooting and killing of Officer Jose Chavez. The state criminal complaint details what Jessie Hanes and two other men in a silver Lexus may have been doing inside the car just before Chavez stopped them.

The two passengers told investigators they were asleep right before Chavez pulled them over.

Tuesday, the feds charged Hanes with being a felon with a gun and for using it. They also charged him with carjacking. While the state charged him with first degree murder.

Although it’s still unclear why Chavez pulled the men over, during interviews with James Nelson, 36, and Toney Jones, a hitchhiker also in the car at the time of the shooting, both passengers told investigators they were asleep.

The criminal complaint states Jones told investigators he was “asleep in the backseat when he woke up and realized the vehicle was being stopped by a police officer.”

The complaint also states Nelson was asleep in the front passenger seat. He told investigators he remembers turning his head as Hanes raised the gun and fired a single shot out the passenger window, hitting Chavez in the neck.

At the time, Hanes and Nelson were also wanted for murder charges in Ohio, accused of killing 62 year old Theodore Timmons.

Nelson has the murder charge still pending in Ohio. He will soon be sent back there to face those charges and he has opted not to fight extradition

Officer Chavez was a two year veteran of the Hatch Police Force. Police say the officer was shot in the neck during a traffic stop Friday when he pulled over two men wanted for murder charges in Ohio.

State Police say after shooting Officer Chavez, Hanes carjacked another man near Radium Springs and shot him too. At last check, that man was in stable condition.

Governor Susana Martinez ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Officer Chavez. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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