The girlfriend of a man charged in the fatal shooting of a Texas sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop has also been charged in the officer’s death, authorities said.
An arrest affidavit alleges that Arlene Pina, 20, can be heard on police video saying “beat that (expletive)” in Spanish after her boyfriend, Facundo Chavez, started striking El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy Peter Herrera following the gunshots.
“At the time (of the shooting), we released the passenger, because we were not sure of her involvement in the case,” said Sheriff Richard Wiles. “However, after some really great detective work by our supervisors and detectives out of our Crimes Against Persons section, we were able to establish and believe that that female was actively involved — even though she didn’t pull the trigger — in the death of Deputy Herrera.”
Pina was charged with capital murder on Saturday and is jailed on $1 million bond. Online jail records don’t list an attorney for her.
Chavez, 27, was charged with capital murder after being accused of firing 15 shots at Herrera in March after the deputy asked Chavez to exit a car in San Elizario, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of El Paso.
Herrera died two days later.
Pina originally told investigators there was a third person in the vehicle and blamed the shooting on that person, which was proven false by dashcam film. She subsequently admitted to investigators that she fabricated the story.
An arrest affidavit shows that Pina also told investigators that she “wanted to get out of the vehicle because (Chavez) told her that he was going to shoot the cop.”
But Chavez alleged that Pina tried to take Herrera’s handgun, according to the affidavit. Investigators said that the blood on Pina’s hands revealed that she had contact with the deputy during the course of the assault.
Wiles noted that Pina and Chavez should both be held accountable and receive the maximum penalty.
“Quite frankly, I believe that both individuals should be subject to the death penalty because I believe strongly this is a death penalty case,” he said.