Immigrant appeals Nevada homicide case to state Supreme Courtroom

RENO, Nev. — Legal professionals for a 20-year-old Salvadoran immigrant accused of killing 4 northern Nevadans are asking the state Supreme Courtroom to overturn a choose’s ruling upholding a grand jury’s authority to indict him in Reno for 2 of the deadly shootings exterior the county.

Public defenders for Wilber Ernesto Martinez-Guzman need the excessive court docket to dismiss two counts every of homicide with a lethal weapon and housebreaking whereas in possession of a firearm within the January deaths of Connie Koontz and Sophia Renken in Douglas County south of Carson Metropolis.

They are saying a Washoe County grand jury exceeded its jurisdictional powers when it indicted him in March on 4 homicide expenses following a weeklong killing rampage that ended with the capturing of an aged couple in Reno.

Washoe District Courtroom Decide Connie Steinheimer rejected that argument final month, siding with prosecutors who insist all Nevada grand juries take pleasure in statewide jurisdiction in circumstances involving felonies.

District Attorneys Chris Hicks of Washoe County and Mark Jackson of Douglas County introduced shortly after Martinez-Guzman’s arrest they supposed to co-prosecute all the costs within the 10-count indictment and that they’d be looking for the loss of life penalty. The trial isn’t scheduled to start till April.

Federal officers have stated Martinez-Guzman is within the U.S. illegally, however they don’t know the way or when he crossed the Mexico border. The case has drawn the eye of President Donald Trump, who says it exhibits the necessity for a border wall.

A detective testified earlier than the grand jury that Martinez-Guzman advised her throughout an interrogation on the Washoe County Jail that he robbed and killed his aged victims as a result of he wanted cash to purchase methamphetamine.

Prosecutors argue the crimes are linked as a result of Martinez-Guzman shot all 4 victims with a gun he stole from the Reno victims who he had labored for final summer time as a landscaper, Gerry and Sherri David.

“The information of this case are so intertwined that his possession of the firearm was an act requisite to consummation of the crimes in Douglas County,” Jackson stated earlier.

The defence enchantment filed with the Nevada Supreme Courtroom earlier this month argues that judges can maintain court docket in any county of the state, however grand juries can not return indictments exterior their county.

“A county grand jury was by no means supposed to function a roving fee inquiring into statewide crimes,” Washoe County Chief Public Defender John Arrascada and Chief Deputy John Reese Petty wrote July 1. “The Washoe County grand jury exceeded its energy by returning a real invoice on 4 felony counts which are alleged to have been dedicated solely in Douglas County.”

Scott Sonner, The Related Press