Murder suspect arraigned in Washoe County

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) The man accused of murdering four people in our area last month began Friday as a defendant on other charges in Carson City, but ended it as an inmate in the Washoe County jail.

Arraignment was held in Reno February 11, with the next court hearing set for March 13.

Wilber Martinez-Guzman made his first court appearance in Carson City two weeks ago.

He'd been arrested there in a shopping center parking lot, and the key evidence against him -- items stolen from the homes of three of the murder victims' homes -- was recovered there.

That evidence led to Carson City charging him first with 36 counts of burglary, possession of stolen firearms and stolen property.

Defendants have a right to a preliminary hearing within 15 days of their arraignment. That was the purpose of the court appearance February 8, 2019, but questioned by Judge Tom Armstrong, the suspect confirmed he was waiving that right. That allowed Carson City to step aside and let the murder case to be prosecuted in Washoe County to go first.

Usually the jurisdiction that arrests a defendant prosecutes first, but Carson City District Attorney Jason Woodbury's office had consulted with the murder victims' families, and allowing the murder case to proceed would give them a faster path to justice.

"Our office is very committed to reaching out to victims to discuss cases with them, to get their thoughts, feelings and input," said Deputy District Attorney Melanie Brantlingham. "Ultimately we make the decision what to do, but, the victims' concerns are paramount to us."

In a matter or minutes it was done. Martinez-Guzman was escorted back to jail, Judge Armstrong signing the necessary documents immediately. And the transfer was made without any delay.

Friday night, Martinez Guzman was an inmate in the Washoe County Jail. He has been charged there for the murders of Jerry and Sherri David, Connie Koontz and Sophia Renken, and will be prosecuted jointly by both the Washoe and Douglas County District Attorneys.