Criminal complaint: Carson City man admits to all four killings | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Criminal complaint: Carson City man admits to all four killings

Geoff Dornan
gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

Wilber Ernesto Martinez-Guzman, 19, of El Salvador, is escorted into the courtroom for his initial appearance in Carson City Justice Court, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Carson City, Nev. Martinez-Guzman was arraigned on 36 felonies including two dozen weapon charges. He's a suspect in a series of four homicides earlier this month in Reno and south of Carson City in rural Gardnerville. Prosecutors say additional charges are pending.

An affidavit filed in Washoe Justice Court on Monday says that Wilber Ernesto Martinez-Guzman admitted killing an elderly Reno couple as well as the two women shot to death in the Gardnerville Ranchos.

He was formally charged with four counts of open murder and five of burglary in a criminal complaint.

In a joint press conference, Washoe District Attorney Chris Hicks and Douglas County DA Mark Jackson said after a review of the law, they have agreed to combine the charges against Guzman into a single trial that will be held in Washoe County and, Jackson said, “ensure the rights of the victims are protected.”

“This is the best course of action in seeking justice,” said Hicks.

The four murders all occurred in a matter of a week earlier this month. Connie Koontz was shot in the head some time during Jan. 9-10 at her home in the Gardnerville Ranchos. Sophia Renken was shot four times during a burglary Jan. 12 at her home in the Gardnerville Ranchos just a mile from the Koontz residence.

Gerald and Sharon David were murdered in their south Reno residence on Jan. 15-16, both suffering a bullet wound in the head.

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According to the affidavit filed by detective Stephanie Brady, Guzman was at the Davids residence in south Reno numerous times during the summer as an employee of a landscaping company and, on Jan. 3, burglarized a trailer on the David family property taking, among other things, a .22-caliber revolver.

“Martinez-Guzman admitted that he used this stolen revolver from the Davids’ trailer in the murders of both Ms. Koontz and Ms. Renken,” according to the affidavit. “He additionally admitted that he used this same revolver in the murder of the ‘elderly couple’ from Reno.”

There was no sign of forced entry at any of the victims’ homes.

The evidence began to point toward Guzman after an Apple watch stolen from the Koontz residence attempted to connect to Apple services using an account belonging to Sonia Guzman, the defendant’s mother. That occurred after Koontz was killed.

During the investigation, detectives were told about a landscaper named Ernesto who worked at the David residence during the summer.

Detectives then learned that Guzman had pawned a gold ring stolen from the David residence at Northern Nevada Coin in Carson City along with 16 silver rings stolen form the Koontz residence.

He was initially arrested for the burglaries and possession of stolen property and faces 36 counts in Carson Justice Court. A search of the BMW he was driving revealed the .22-caliber revolver.

Guzman remains in the Carson City Jail but Hicks and Jackson said they have filed the paperwork to transfer him to the Washoe County Jail where he will be held without bail. The two DAs said they intend to personally prosecute him for the murders but have not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty.

No court date has yet been set in Reno and while Guzman has a public defender on the 36 burglary and stolen property counts he faces in Carson City, no attorney has yet been appointed to handle the murder charges in Washoe County.

Guzman is also wanted by federal immigration authorities. They say he is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador. Asked about that, Hicks said his immigration status has nothing to do with this case.