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Jimmy Chagra Dies

by Michael webster Investigative reporter Monday, Jul. 28, 2008 at 12:30 AM
mvwsr@aol.com 949 494-7121

Jimmy was accused of leading a 1979 conspiracy to assassinate the federal judge in San Antonio Texas set to preside over his drug trial, died Friday. He was 63.

Jimmy Chagra Dies

Former El Pasoan Jimmy Chagra the man accused of a plot to kill judge in San Antonio dies. He was freed on parole in '03, he had been living in Mesa Arizona in a federal protection program.

by Michael Webster: Investigative Reporter July 26, 2008 6:00 PM PDT



The El Paso/Juarez Metro-Borderplex : Jamiel Alexander "Jimmy" Chagra, brother of famous El Paso criminal trial Lawyer Lee Chagra who was murdered by Ft. Bliss solders, and younger brother lawyer Joe Chagra who was also killed in an auto accident after serving time in prison himself. All brothers now dead.

Jimmy was accused of leading a 1979 conspiracy to assassinate the federal judge in San Antonio Texas set to preside over his drug trial, died Friday. He was 63.

Jimmy, who was living in Mesa, Ariz., had been battling cancer since November, said his sister, Patsy Chagra of El Paso.

"That's where he was living with his wife," she told the El Paso Times.

U.S. District Judge John Wood Jr. was fatally shot in the back on May 29, 1979, outside his San Antonio home. Hit man Charles Harrelson, the father of actor Woody Harrelson, was convicted of murder in the slaying and died in federal prison in Denver in March 2007 while serving two life sentences.

Harrelson while in custody confessed to the assassination of President John F. Kenney. Many conspiracy theorist believe he may have been the hobo depicted in some photo's taken just before the shooting and after on the grassy knoll and behind the fence near the railroad tracks.

Jimmy was acquitted of most charges in Wood's death, but was found guilty of obstructing the investigation and sentenced to 30 years in prison. The government believed at the time Jimmy hired and paid Harrelson to do the hit.

He faced federal indictments on several narcotics conspiracy charges at the time of the judge's assassination.

After the slaying of Wood, Presiding Federal District Judge and former El Paso U. S. District Judge and later appointed FBI director William Sessions, agreed to a change of venue and transferred the case to Florida, where he presided. Jimmy was convicted of masterminding an international drug smuggling venture. After that conviction, Jimmy became a fugitive and the subject of a worldwide man hunt for about six months. He was finally arrested in February 1980 in Las Vegas where authorities said they recovered over 0,000 dollars in cash in the back seat floor board hidden in a baby diaper pail.

Jimmy was a will known Las Vegas gambler and was defended by Oscar Goodman the current mayor of Las Vegas.

A month later, Jimmy was sentenced to 30 years on drug charges. He was freed and put on parole in 2003. It is rumored that Jimmy obtained the early release and was put into a federal witness protection program for the information he gave authorities.

His first wife Liz Chagra died of cancer while Jimmy was still locked up.

Jimmy remarried and lived the rest of his life as what people close to him said was a pretty normal life.

For more details of the Chagra family saga in-depth articles appeared in the El Paso Journal newspaper and the "fifth estate" news magazine featured on the cover was Jimmy and several other family members, titled "Cash Is King" both publications can be found and read at the El Paso public Library heritage section.

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