Supreme Court vacates April 12 Guzman competency deadline

Guzman

Guzman

 

A deadline to file a motion seeking to declare a man accused of killing two Gardnerville Ranchos women intellectually disabled was overturned by the Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday.

Connie Koontz and Sophia Renkin were shot and killed within days of one another in January 2019, along with a Reno couple.

Salvadoran Wilber Guzman, 20, is accused of using a stolen gun to commit the crimes. He is facing the death penalty in a Washoe County courtroom on multiple homicide counts.

His defense attorneys appealed an April 12 deadline set by Judge Connie Steinheimer to file a motion to have him declared intellectually disabled. An evidentiary hearing would have been May 17, had the order stood.

While his attorneys claim Guzman is intellectually incapable of participating in his case, they’ve yet to file a motion seeking that designation pending their expert being able to fly to El Salvador to interview family members.

Defense attorneys pointed out that they aren’t required by law to file the motion until 10 days before trial, which is scheduled for September. They point out that the stay won’t affect the date of the trial.

The high court granted a stay of the deadline pending further order.

Justices heard oral arguments on Wednesday over whether the Washoe County grand jury indictment of Guzman on the Douglas County cases was valid.

Should the high court rule that it isn’t, the two murder cases would have to be heard in Douglas County. The case was submitted for decision, which has not yet been issued.

Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson has been working with Washoe County District Attorney Christopher Hicks on the multiple murder case.


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