Accused murderer Martinez-Guzman appears in court for a status hearing
Defendant Martinez-Guzman looked no different at this week's status hearing than before.
He will stand trial for the murder of four people who lived in Douglas and Washoe Counties.
The crime earlier this year prompted Northern Nevadans to double check the locks on their doors or take even more drastic measures.
Defense attorney John Arrascada told Judge Connie Steinheimer he planned to file a motion with the court in hopes of getting his client declared as having an "intellectual disability."
Arrascada claims his client has an IQ of 66.
“If they can prove that. Then the death penalty is taken off the table as a possible punishment,” says criminal defense attorney Martin Wiener.
Wiener is not affiliated with this case.
But he says back in 2003 Nevada's Supreme Court ruled defendants who have an "intellectual disability" cannot be executed in this state.
Motions like this must be filed before trial begins.
It will be up to the judge to make a determination.
“From the defense attorney's point of view, that is the goal,” says Wiener. “Because the trial becomes infinitely easier if you are not fighting over whether someone is or isn't going to get the death penalty,” he says.
Wiener says if a defendant is not ruled "intellectually disabled" the trial will still move forward.
But, if there is a conviction, defense attorneys can bring the subject up again on appeal should a jury decide on the death penalty
Because an "intellectual disability" finding takes the death penalty off the table before trial begins---prosecutors will have a chance to have their say at the same time as well.
“The prosecution can appeal to the supreme court before the trial even starts,” he says.