Death penalty sought vs. Guzman | NevadaAppeal.com

Death penalty sought vs. Guzman

Kurt Hildebrand
khildebrand@recordcourier.com

Guzman

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against an El Salvadoran accused of shooting four Western Nevada residents in January.

At a press conference on Thursday morning, Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson announced there were sufficient aggravating circumstances to file a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Wilbur Martinez-Guzman.

Among the circumstances were 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 Davis 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 the decision to seek the death penalty was made in consultation with the families of the victims.

The Washoe County grand jury handed up the indictment in Reno late Wednesday.

The case has drawn the attention of President Donald Trump, who says it shows the need for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Federal officials say Martinez-Guzman is in the United States illegally but they don't know how or when he got here.