Man to be tried in killing of teen
RENO – A convicted felon and illegal immigrant twice deported from the country will be tried for the Mother’s Day killing of a Carson City teen and shooting of a good Samaritan who stopped to help, a Reno judge determined Wednesday.
Reno Justice of the Peace Harold Albright determined there is enough evidence to try Victor Rodriguez, 24, for the killing of Rene Angulo, 17, and attempted murder of Wayne Nash, 51 on Highway 395 a mile outside Carson City.
Investigators believe Rodriguez shot Angulo as he drove through the valley. Rodriguez then allegedly fled to Old Highway 395 where he ditched the vehicle near Bellevue Road. He was later found by Washoe County deputies naked and hiding in the brush. According to police, Rodriguez claimed he “blacked out” during the incident.
Nash, shot in the right leg, testified from his wheelchair that he was driving with his wife and 16-year-old daughter to Reno when the vehicle in front of him “took an abrupt, almost 90-degree angle off the road.”
Nash, a traffic designer and assistant basketball coach at Carson High, said he drove his truck 50 feet past the sedan and got out.
“I thought someone was in peril and needed some help,” he said.
“As you approached the vehicle, did you see any injured persons?” asked Deputy District Attorney Dan Greco.
“I saw, I think his name was Rene, was laying down. He seemed to be face down right by the fence,” said Nash.
Nash said that within seconds the sedan sped out of the shoulder and back onto the road.
“I looked at the vehicle and I looked at the victim. And when I looked at the vehicle I heard a loud pop. I think that’s going to haunt me forever,” he said. ” I felt like someone was shooting at me. It took just a quick instant to figure that out.”
Nash said he wasn’t struck by the first gunshot and, “I ran. I turned. I ran.”
But the second bullet entered the back of his leg just above the knee. He has since undergone three surgeries. Doctors removed a vein in his arm to bridge the gap in his severed artery.
“It was just like an explosion,” Nash said of the gunshot. “I knew what it was, though. I just hit the dirt. I just went right on down.”
Nash said he immediately yelled at his wife that he’d been shot and to call 911. He also called 911.
Nash’s daughter Whitney testified she was in the back seat when her father got out to help.
“He started walking slowly back toward the boy’s body and then he stopped,” she said.
She said when the sedan began to pull out of the shoulder her mother told her to memorize the plate.
More than a month later, she quickly recited it when asked.
Then as the sedan got onto the road, Whitney said, she could see the driver wearing a hat and holding a gun.
“I just saw him holding it,” she said. “And then I looked at my dad.”
She saw her father fall.
“And then blood started squirting out of his leg. It was really scary.”
Marci Margritier, a forensic investigator with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, testified that Angulo was shot in the right side of his head and twice in his torso.
Margritier’s testimony brought Angulo’s mother to tears as she sat in the back row of the courtroom with family. Supporters reached out to comfort her.
Monica Siewertsen, a criminalist in the DNA unit of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, testified that blood found on the left sleeve and right shoulder of Rodriguez’s shirt matched Angulo’s DNA. She said a blood spot on the front of Rodriguez’s shirt was his own.
Rodriguez’s girlfriend of seven years and mother to his two daughters, ages 1 and 5, wrapped up the state’s case with stuttering, quiet testimony that caused the judge to admonish her to cooperate.
When she was asked by Greco when she last saw Rodriguez on the morning of the shooting, Raquel Zertuche, 21, said she didn’t remember.
“Was it in the morning?” asked Greco.
“Possibly,” Zertuche said.
“Was it possibly in your motel room at the Gold Dust West?” asked Greco.
“Possibly,” she replied again.
“You’re the witness, is that a yes or no? Did you see him at the motel or not?” Greco asked once more.
“I don’t remember,” Zertuche said.
When Washoe County Chief Deputy Public Defender Maizie Pusich asked Zertuche about the morning of the shooting, she said she and Rodriguez had argued and he left with all of his things.
She also testified that in the weeks prior, Rodriguez had been seeing “spirits or ghosts.”
At another point when she talked about Rodriguez seeing things, Greco interrupted her testimony after a bailiff told him that Rodriguez was “motioning” to her.
“You’re not to signal this witness, intimidate her, stare at her, glare at her, grimace at her or anything you think is going to be effective in intimidating this lady,” the judge told Rodriguez.
“I want to tell her to … just say the truth,” Rodriguez said.
“Just be quiet,” the judge said.
“Ok,” said Rodriguez, looking down at his hands.