Prosecutors seek death penalty for Martinez-Guzman

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RENO, Nev., (KOLO) Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty for the 20-year-old man in the US illegally and accused of the January murder spree which left four people dead in northern Nevada.

Announcement of the decision came at a joint press conference called by Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks and Douglas County DA Mark Jackson.

Jackson said the decision came after a careful consideration of the aggravating factors in the case, the multiple murders, committed during burglaries in order to obtain money or items of value compared with the potential mitigating factors,'s age and lack of criminal record.

"We decided that the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances."

"We take our our role and our duty very seriously," added Hicks, "and when we decide to seek the death penalty we reserve that for the very worst offenders."

Martinez-Guzman is charged with the murders of Jerry and Sherri David in Washoe County and Sophia Renken and Connie Koontz in Gardnerville within a period of one week in early January.

The families of the victims apparently support the decision to seek the death penalty. It marks only the fourth time in the past decade that the death penalty has been sought in Washoe County.

Martinez-Guzman will likely face the possibility of the death penalty sooner thanks to an indictment delivered by the Washoe County Grand Jury following a full day of closed door testimony Wednesday. The Grand Jury indictment bypasses preliminary hearings in Justice Court, sending the case directly to District Court.

Hicks said the decision to take the case to the grand jury reflected the priority the two counties have put on the case.

"We wanted to get the case in district court so we could get it set for trial and so we can get that process moving forward. So, yes, in our opinion, we cut off several months of time that would have been used in Justice Court."

Martinez-Guzman will be arraigned in Judge Connie Steinheimer's court sometime in the next couple weeks.