RENO, Nev. (KOLO) 19-year-old Wilber Ernesto Martinez-Guzman sits in the Carson City Jail, suspected of killing four people in a week, but not yet charged with murder. Federal authorities say he is in this country illegally, but in the end that could be the least of his legal troubles.
But it is that charge that will keep the defendant here in Nevada to face other possible charges.
“And he is being held until all the state charges are resolved. Then he will be turned over to federal authorities,” says Martin Wiener, local criminal defense attorney.
Wiener says there is no time limit on when the suspect could be deported to his home country. He is the major suspect, in fact the only suspect at this time, implicated in four deaths in two counties.
However, just like federal deportation, there is no time limit on filing murder charges here in Nevada.
“There is no statute of limitations for murder. I recently did a trial where the woman was accused of murder 32 years earlier,” says Wiener.
Prosecutors aren't saying if Douglas County or Washoe County will be the first to charge Martinez-Guzman on more serious crimes, what those charges will be or if prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
“Carson City can prosecute him for the crimes he committed there. If there is a murder charge they want to prosecute him for in Douglas County, that has to be done in the Douglas County courts by the Douglas County District Attorney. And similarly in Washoe County for any charges here,” says Wiener.
Wiener says whichever jurisdiction goes second or third on its prosecution, their case can use evidence and material used to seek a conviction of Martinez-Guzman in the previous trial.
If found guilty in all three jurisdictions, he will serve time delivered by all three courts, Carson, Douglas, and Washoe counties.
Only after a conviction and time served in prison on all counts will the feds step in and take custody of a defendant and then deport that person to his home country.
Because of the immigration violation, a defendant cannot be released on bail.