RENO, Nev. — Monday’s criminal complaint was filed by the Douglas County district attorney. The filing alleges that a Salvadoran immigrant killed two Gardnerville women. This is after the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that he cannot be tried in Washoe County for both crimes. He is also accused of shooting dead a Reno woman a few days later in 2019.
Last month, the high court ruled Wilber Ernesto Martinez Guzman should be tried in the county where the murders occurred. Because the Reno grand jury did not have the proper jurisdiction to indict him, the court ordered that a Washoe County judge dismiss Douglas County charges.
Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson initiated this new process by filing a complaint in East Fork Justice Court Minden south Carson City against Martinez Guzman for the deaths of Sophia Renken and Connie Koontz.
Prosecutors claim that he stole a revolver of.22 caliber from the Reno home of Gerald and Sharon David on January 4, 2019. They claim he killed Koontz five more days later and then burglarized Renken’s Reno home on Jan. 4, 2019.
He was indicted by the Washoe County grand jury on five burglary and four murder charges.
Martinez Guzman was arrested in the following days and has been kept in Reno’s Washoe County Jail. He will be kept there without bail under the new arrest warrant. Jackson and Washoe County District attorney Chris Hicks had previously announced that they would seek the death penalty for him if he is convicted.
The Supreme Court justices voted 5-2 on September 30 to agree with Martinez Guzman’s public defenders, stating that he is entitled for separate trials.
The Reno trial was scheduled to start in the early part of next year. Police said that Martinez Guzman, who was illegally in the country, had been working as a landscaper on all three properties where the four victims were killed. T hey claimed he had confessed to the shootings.
Prosecutors argued that Nevada law permitted only one trial, because the facts of the cases were “intertwined,” which included evidence that Martinez Guzman killed all four victims using the same gun he stole at the Davids’ house.
Justice Lidia Stiglich stated in the majority opinion that these theories were “too speculative” and “unsupported by the evidence” for the Douglas County murders to be tried in Washoe County. “There is no evidence Martinez Guzman had the firearm to prepare for the murders in Douglas County.”