It might be for the best that the man who killed two Gardnerville Ranchos women in their homes in January 2019 faces a Douglas County jury.
Connie Koontz and Sophia Renkin were killed within a week of one another in the commission of a burglary, along with Reno residents Gerald and Sharon David.
We know that prosecutors tried to combine the trial of Wilber Martinez Guzman, and we appreciate the effort to reduce the pain among the families that requiring two lengthy trials would bring.
Unlike Washoe County, Douglas doesn’t have a sitting grand jury to issue indictments, so Guzman will have to start the process from scratch here.
Because he is represented by the Washoe County Public Defender’s Office, Douglas will have to provide him with defense counsel.
We expect, given District Attorney Mark Jackson’s involvement in the case in Washoe County, the decision to seek the death penalty is pretty much a given.
We also don’t know how the timing of Douglas proceedings will work.
It might be beneficial to delay the Douglas proceedings for at least a month, while the county works to resolve a shortage in public defenders that has developed.
On Thursday, Douglas County commissioners approved contracting with an indigent defense coordinator, who would be walking into a big job in the best of circumstances.
Guzman isn’t going anywhere for a while. His Washoe trial is scheduled for early next year, assuming some other obstacle doesn’t present itself.
When Douglas is ready, Guzman will come down and be arraigned in East Fork Justice Court, where he will have an attorney or two appointed.
The road is only marginally different and will have to pass through the justice court before it arrives in Douglas County District Court.
That trial is going to cost a lot, just like everything else connected with this case. Our sincerest hope is that justice is well served.