Prosecutors seek death penalty against man accused of killings in Douglas, Washoe counties | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Prosecutors seek death penalty against man accused of killings in Douglas, Washoe counties

Kurt Hildebrand
khildebrand@recordcourier.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.
AP Photo/Scott Sonner

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against an El Salvadoran accused of shooting four Western Nevada residents in January.

At a press conference Thursday morning, Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson announced there were sufficient aggravating circumstances to file a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Wilber Martinez-Guzman.

Among the circumstances were Martinez-Guzman, 19, is accused of committing the murders during the commission of a burglary.

“After careful deliberation, we reached the conclusion that the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating factors and we are filing notice that we intend to seek the death penalty.”

Martinez-Guzman was accused of 10 felony counts related to the murders of Jerry and Sherri Davis killed in their south Reno home Jan. 16 as well as Connie Koontz, who was discovered in her Gardnerville Ranchos home Jan. 10, and Sophia Renken, found dead in her home a mile away from the Koontz residence Jan. 13.

Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks said the Washoe County Grand Jury returned 10 counts in the case on Wednesday.

That will allow the case to skip justice court proceedings and go directly to district court.

He said District Judge Connie Steinheimer will hear the arraignment in the case.

Jackson said the decision to seek the death penalty was made in consultation with the families of the victims.