The Nevada Supreme Court will hear arguments Nov. 5 on whether the Washoe County Grand Jury had the legal right to indict Wilber Martinez-Guzman on two counts of murder that happened in Douglas County.
That panel also indicted him on two counts of murder committed in Reno.
Washoe Public Defender John Arrascada confirmed both the Supreme Court hearing and the report that the district judge on Monday conditionally denied his request to push Guzman’s trial back until Aug. 31, 2020.
The defense wants a medical expert to prove Guzman, who was arrested in Carson City, is ineligible to face the death penalty. Defendants in murder cases cannot face the death penalty if their IQ is below 70. The defense has indicated there is evidence that Guzman, a Salvadoran illegal, may have an IQ as low as 55.
But the judge had earlier said she wouldn’t delay the trial beyond the current April 6 start unless the defense could file assurances they would actually have a neural psychologist who speaks Spanish available to do the examination. Experts with those qualifications are in short supply nationwide.
Arrascada said he filed a supplemental motion Tuesday assuring the judge that their expert will be available. The judge then set a July 27 hearing to consider resetting the trial for Aug. 31, 2020.
Guzman was indicted by the Washoe County Grand Jury in March on four counts of murder committed during a 10-day killing spree last January.
The victims were a Reno couple killed in their home a few days after he allegedly shot two women at their Douglas County home in Gardnerville.
Washoe investigators have said he admitted the crimes to a detective.
The issue before the Supreme Court is called “territorial jurisdiction,” an argument that the grand jury in one county cannot indict for a crime committed in another county.