Las Vegas Sun

May 22, 2019

Currently: 78° — Complete forecast

Grand jury indicts immigrant in 4 fatal shootings in Northern Nevada

Updated Thursday, March 14, 2019 | 11:04 a.m.

RENO — A grand jury has indicted a Salvadoran immigrant who is in the U.S. illegally on murder charges in the killing of an elderly couple and two women in Nevada.

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

Wilber Ernesto Martinez-Guzman, 20, is accused of fatally shooting the Reno couple and the two women in neighboring Douglas County during a 10-day crime rampage in January.

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

Prosecutors planned a news conference later Thursday to discuss the case.

Federal officials say Martinez-Guzman is in the U.S. illegally but they don't know how or when he crossed the border.

Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks has refused to comment on the immigration status of the defendant.

"What someone's status is in this country has nothing to do with how we are proceeding in this case," Hicks said in January.

"We are looking to hold an alleged murderer accountable for the murders he committed. That's all," Hicks said.

Martinez-Guzman has not entered a plea and a trial date has not yet been set.

His public defender, John Arrascada, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

The victims include a couple who were prominent members of the Reno Rodeo Association and employed Martinez-Guzman as a landscaper at their home.

Police say they were shot with a gun Martinez-Guzman stole from them earlier.

Martinez-Guzman told investigators he used a .22-caliber revolver stolen from the property of 81-year-old Gerald David and 80-year-old Sharon David less than two weeks before he killed them on Jan. 16, according to an affidavit police filed in Reno Justice Court.

Martinez-Guzman was arrested Jan. 19 in Carson City, where he also faces a series of weapons and burglary charges. He's being held without bail in the Washoe County Jail in Reno.

The affidavit also alleges his DNA was found on the .22-caliber gun also used to kill Connie Koontz and Sophia Renken in their homes.