Monday, February 6, 2023

2 more guilty pleas from the man who confessed to killing 4 Nevadan

Reno, Nev. (AP) — A Salvadoran immigrant who admitted to fatally shooting four people in Nevada during a two-week stampede in 2019 pleaded guilty Tuesday to the remaining two murders as part of a settlement with prosecutors Convicted, which would save him from the death penalty.

Wilbur Ernesto Martínez Guzmán, 22, will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole, after pleading guilty to first-degree murder with a deadly weapon in rural Douglas County, in the deaths of Connie Koontz and Sofia Rankin. Both died at their homes in Gardnerville, south of Carson City.

He pleaded guilty to similar charges in the October 21 deaths of Gerald and Sharon David at their Reno home in Washoe County.

An announcement last month by prosecutors that a settlement had been reached regarding the four murders came as a surprise in legal proceedings that lasted nearly two years.

Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks and Douglas County’s Mark Jackson initially planned a death penalty trial for Martinez Guzman in Reno. But the Nevada Supreme Court ruled on September 30 that the defendants would have to trial separately in the two county courts.

Prosecutors told a news conference last month after pleadings from the convicts in Reno that the decision to drop the death penalty came as a result of direct appeals from the victims’ families, who did not want the case to proceed. decades of appeal

“Today was the next step in the search for justice for similar heinous crimes committed by Martínez Guzmán in Douglas County,” Jackson said in a statement Tuesday after pleas for murder and burglary charges in district court in Minden.

“Today was also about respecting and respecting the collective wishes of all the victims’ families in finalizing these cases,” he said.

Hicks said it is “a second step in a global resolve that will secure justice for victims and eventual for their loved ones.”

Jackson said Martínez Guzmán could also be indicted later this month for multiple property offenses in Carson City.

In addition to four consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole, he faces a minimum of 214 years in prison for multiple burglary, burglary, arms and stolen property charges under the plea agreement outlined in court documents.

Washoe County District Judge Connie Steinheimer set the sentencing for the Reno crimes for February 28.

Jackson said the sentencing will take place on March 3 in Douglas County, where the families of Koontz and Rankin will “finally have an opportunity to tell the court how the murders have affected their lives.”

Authorities said Martínez Guzmán stole a .22-caliber handgun from David’s southwest Reno home on January 4, 2019; Several days later, in separate attacks, Koontz, 56, and Renken, 74, were shot dead; And on 15 January returned to Dawood’s house to rob and kill Dawood.

Gerald David, 81, and his wife of 80 years were chiefs at the Reno Rodeo Association and hired Martínez Guzmán as a landscaper the summer before.

Martínez Guzmán was arrested in Carson City during a search operation in which investigators tracked down an Apple Watch stolen from Koontz to Martínez Guzmán’s mother.

The case caught the attention of then-President Donald Trump, who said it showed the need to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. Officials said Martínez Guzmán was in the country illegally, but did not know how and when he arrived.


Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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