Accused Men Arraigned for Murder of Canyon Ridge Teen
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Twin Falls Police arrested Jose Alvarez, 20, and Gerardo Chavez, 19, for the murder of Canyon Ridge High School student, 15-year-old Vason Widaman, after a drug deal.
Twin Falls School District/Twin Falls County Coroner Gene Turley has identified the teen victim in May 7th's deadly shooting as 15-year-old Vason Widaman. KMVT-TV
Tuesday, police arrested Alvarez and Chavez for murder in the first degree and intimidation or harassment of a witness. Court records say on May 7 they “willfully, unlawfully, deliberately, with premeditation, and with malice aforethought” shot and killed Widaman.
A witness says he and Chavez, also known as “G”, took a cab to Canyon Ridge High School to illegally buy Xanax pills from Widaman. After several weeks, they hadn’t received the pills and suspected they got ripped off. While the witness was in the car with Chavez, he was on the phone with Widaman, telling him he needed to deliver the pills or deal with him. The witness also said Chavez claimed he would kill the person who stole their money.
Another witness told detectives it was common knowledge that Widaman was a drug dealer. Detectives learned that police arrested Widaman and several other juveniles at Walmart prior to the shooting. One of the juveniles says he witnessed a drug deal between Widaman and Chavez several months earlier. He also said Widaman said he ripped off Chavez for about $700 to $800. Detectives also say Alvarez has a Facebook page under an alias that’s dedicated to selling illegal drugs.
A woman told detectives on the day of the homicide, she saw Widaman riding his bicycle and a dark charcoal gray vehicle that looks like a Dodge Charger driving slowly next to him. She says the vehicle was moving so slowly, she went around it. Multiple witnesses said Alvarez, known as “White Jose” drove a dark-colored Dodge Charger and could be involved. Police confirmed Alvarez drives a dark Dodge Charger.
Detectives found Chavez’s number in Widaman’s phone. Phone records show Chavez’s phone was near the location of the shooting five minutes before police were dispatched to the scene. Surveillance cameras from local businesses confirm Alvarez’s vehicle was in the area around the time of the shooting.
Court documents say on May 10 Alvarez and Chavez intimidated someone they believed could be used as a witness to the crime. They questioned him about what information he may have relayed to the police about the shooting.
Chavez was in the Twin Falls County Jail in July on a probation violation, and while he was there, he spoke to another inmate about the homicide. The inmate recorded conversations between himself and Chavez. In the recording, Chavez says Widaman owed him $700.
In October, Chavez told a friend, “I just wanted to let you know, that kid who stole our money, I handled it.” He also allegedly threatened to kill a Twin Falls Police detective who’s investigating this case.
Both Alvarez and Chavez are in the Twin Falls County Jail without bail. Their preliminary hearings are set for December 30.