Carson DA files charges in murders | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson DA files charges in murders

The Carson City District Attorney's office has filed a five-page criminal complaint that ties Wilber Martinez-Guzman to at least three of the four murders in Douglas and Washoe counties.

The nine complaints charged that Guzman pawned or sold rings and other jewelry belonging to Jerald David and Connie Koontz at Northern Nevada Coin on North Carson Street.

Guzman is set to appear in Carson Justice Court this afternoon for his first court appearance since his arrest.

He is expected to be charged within days with all four of the murders of David and his wife Sherri who were found shot to death in their south Reno home Jan. 16 as well as Koontz who was discovered in her Gardnerville Ranchos home Jan. 10 and Sophia Renken, found dead in her home a mile away form the Koontz residence Jan. 13.

The complaint signed by Deputy District Attorney Melanie Brantingham charges Guzman with three counts of burglary, all category B felonies. In addition, it charges three counts of possessing stolen property, one of them a felony involving an Elks club ring worth $750 that belonged to Gerald David and two misdemeanors involving rings and other jewelry belonging to Koontz. Finally it includes three counts of false pretenses to obtain money.

Martinez-Guzman was arrested at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 19 in a parking lot at the Carson Mall.

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Law enforcement said he was taken into custody after he was under surveillance by police after a tip connected him to the murders. They had been tracking him and considered him "an imminent threat" when they arrested.

"We couldn't account for him Friday night, and we couldn't predict what he would do Saturday night," Furlong told The Associated Press. "It was too great a risk to the public not to make the arrest."

Detectives had watched Martinez-Guzman go to a car wash and trash bins, raising concern that he might try to dispose of evidence connected to the slayings. He did not have a weapon when he was handcuffed, the sheriff said.

Guzman remains in the Carson City Jail, held without bail on an immigration hold charging he entered the U.S. illegally from El Salvador.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not have details on his entry into the U.S.

He has lived in the Carson City area for about a year. His only known infraction was a speeding ticket, Furlong said.

"We have no information this guy has ever been on anyone's radar," he said.

Guzman does have family in the area.

The case has been thrust into the immigration debate, with President Donald Trump seizing on the killings as evidence of the need for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.

"Four people in Nevada viciously robbed and killed by an illegal immigrant who should not have been in our country," Trump said Monday in a tweet. "We need a powerful wall!"

The killings are the latest crimes Trump has cited to bring attention to the wall, which is at the center of his battle with Democrats that has shut down much of the federal government.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.