Death penalty sought in Ranchos murders
March 14, 2019
Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against an El Salvadoran man accused of shooting four Western Nevada residents in January.
At a press conference on Thursday morning, Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson announced that there were sufficient aggravating circumstances to file a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Wilber Martinez-Guzman.
Among the circumstances were that Martinez-Guzman, 19, is accused of committing the murders during the commission of a burglary.
"After careful deliberation, we reached the conclusion that the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating factors and we are filing notice that we intend to seek the death penalty."
Martinez-Guzman was accused of 10 felony counts related to the murders of Jerry and Sherri David, who were killed in their south Reno home Jan. 16, as well as Connie Koontz, who was discovered in her Gardnerville Ranchos home Jan. 10, and Sophia Renken, found dead in her home a mile away from the Koontz residence Jan. 13.
Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks said the Washoe County Grand Jury returned 10 counts in the case on Wednesday.
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That will allow the case to skip justice court proceedings and go directly to district court.
He said District Judge Connie Steinheimer will hear the arraignment in the case.
Jackson said that the decision to seek the death penalty was made in consultation with the families of the victims.