An illegal immigrant pleaded guilty Tuesday to murdering two more people during a two-week rampage in northern Nevada in 2019.
Wilber Ernesto Martinez Guzman-22, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder with a deadly weapon in rural Douglas County for the deaths of Connie Koontz, 56, and Sophia Renken, 74, both victims were killed at their respective homes in Gardnerville. He pleaded guilty last month in Washoe County to the same charges in the deaths of Gerald and Sharon David at their southwest Reno home during the same two-week period in January 2019.
Authorities said Martinez Guzman stole a .22-caliber handgun from the Davids’ home, shot and killed Koontz and Renken in individual attacks, then returned to the Davids’ house several days later to rob and kill them.
Gerald David-81 and his 80-year-old wife Sharon had hired Martinez Guzman as a landscaper the previous summer.
During a manhunt for Guzman, investigators tracked an Apple watch he had stolen from Koontz, to his mother’s home in Carson City he was then arrested. Authorities said Martinez Guzman, a Salvadoran national, was in the country illegally. The case caught the attention of President Donald Trump, who at the time, said it further confirmed the need for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Initially, prosecutors had asked for the death penalty but a plea agreement squelched that possibility. Prosecutors said the victims’ families made a direct appeal because they did not want to drag out the process with the potential for decades of appeals.
Guzman faces four consecutive life terms with no possibility of parole, as well as a minimum of an additional 214 years in prison for the multiple burglary, larceny, weapons, and possession of stolen property charges under the plea agreement outlined in court documents. He is expected to plead guilty to additional property crimes in Carson City later this month. Washoe County District Judge Connie Steinheimer has scheduled sentencing for the Reno crimes for Feb. 28.