Lawyers for a man accused of killing four northern Nevadans are urging a judge to dismiss some of the charges and throw out his confession based on procedural errors they say could make any conviction vulnerable to appeals.

Washoe District Court Judge Connie Steinheimer said Monday she'll decide in the coming weeks whether to grant the defense motions to dismiss.

Public defenders for Wilber Ernesto Martinez-Guzman say the Washoe County grand jury lacked legal jurisdiction to indict him for two of the January killings in Douglas County.

They say prosecutors also failed to provide the necessary supporting evidence to allow the jury to hear testimony that Martinez-Guzman confessed to fatally shooting and stealing from the victims to support his drug habit.

Prosecutors say the defense assertions aren't supported by state law and fly in the face of justice.

The 20-year-old is accused of killing four people in Reno and Douglas County earlier this year. 

Martinez-Guzman is now scheduled to appear in court again for a status hearing on June 24th. 

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


A detective says a Salvadoran immigrant charged with four Nevada murders told police he robbed and killed his elderly victims during a 10-day rampage in January because he needed money to buy methamphetamine.

The detective told the grand jury that indicted Wilber Ernesto Martinez-Guzman in Reno last week that the 20-year-old who is in the U.S. illegally broke into tears and repeatedly called himself an "idiot" before confessing to the murders hours after his arrest Jan. 19.

According to the grand jury transcript obtained by The Associated Press, Detective Stefanie Brady testified that Martinez-Guzman initially denied any wrongdoing and giggled through part of the interrogation.

But after confronting him with contradictions in his story, she says he admitted he shot the victims because he needed the money for meth.

Earlier this week, an April 6th, 2020 trial date was set for the accused murderer. 

Prosecutors say they expect the jury trial to expected to last eight weeks. 

Authorities say Martinez-Guzman waived his right to a speedy trial, but he refused to enter a plea on 10 counts, including murder, so the court entered a not guilty plea for him.

Previously prosecutors announced that they will seek the death penalty against Martinez-Guzman. 

Last week a grand jury indicted Martinez-Guzman on murder, burglary and weapon charges. He was previously charged in criminal complaints.

Martinez-Guzman was transferred to the Washoe County Jail from Carson City on February 8, after he waived his right to a speedy preliminary hearing. Prosecutors in both Washoe and Douglas counties said family of the victims preferred the more serious charges to be addressed first in district court in Reno.

He will be tried on four murder counts in Reno before he faces burglary charges in Carson City.

In January, Martinez-Guzman was charged with the murders of 56-year-old Connie Koontz and 74-year-old Sophia Renken in Gardnerville, and also 81-year-old Jerry David and 80-year-old Sherri David of Reno.

Court documents allege that he entered the victims' residences through open points of entry. He allegedly shot each of them with a handgun and burglarized their homes.

Martinez-Guzman was found to be in the country illegally from El Salvador and will face felony allegations for possession of stolen firearms as well.

You can read the full court documents below: