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Martinez Guzman pleads guilty again, this time in Douglas County

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 6:48 PM PST
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MINDEN, Nev. (KOLO) - Wilber Martinez Guzman appeared in Douglas County District Court Tuesday afternoon and plead guilty to the murders of two Gardnerville women in a 2019 crime spree.

It was the first appearance in a Douglas County Courtroom for the 22 year old Salvadoran immigrant--an appearance the prosecution thought would never be necessary.

Douglas County was where it all began exactly two years and 10 months ago with the discovery of the body of Connie Koontz in her Gardnerville home, followed three days later by the shooting death of Sophia Renken. Within a week the toll of this murder spree had risen to four with the discovery of the bodies of Jerry and Sherry David in south Reno. Days later he was arrested after selling property taken during the crimes.

The two district attorneys decided on a joint prosecution in Washoe County which has a sitting grand jury, but the state supreme court eventually rejected that idea, dividing the cases. That complicated a case which was already moving slowly, threatening to drag on for months, perhaps years, and prompted a plea agreement. Martinez Guzman agreed to plead guilty. The prosecutors took the death penalty off the table.

Last month he plead guilty to the Washoe County charges. His appearance here was to do the same in Douglas County.

Much of the time was devoted to Judge Thomas Gregory determining point by point if the defendant understood what he’d agreed to and the consequences of that decision. He answered through an interpreter to each question. At one point the judge asked if he understood the meaning of ‘’without the possibility of parole. “it means I will spend the rest of my life in prison,” he replied.

The judge set formal sentencing for March 3rd, three days after Washoe District Judge Connie Steinheimer scheduled the same in Reno.

Martinez Guzman still faces lesser charges in Carson City related to the sale and possession of items taken from the victims’ homes. He’ll enter a plea to those charges within a week. In the meantime he will return to the Washoe County Jail.

Sometime in March, if all goes as planned, he will begin serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole.

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