• Richard Easson

Lawyers for Illegal Immigrant Accused of Quadruple Homicide Say Client is “Intellectually Disabled”

The Nevada Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments to hear from lawyers on both sides of a death penalty case. The arguments will determine how much more time is needed for public defenders to prove their client is intellectually disabled.

Lawyers for Wilber Ernesto Martinez-Guzman, 22, are scheduled to have one of their two appeals heard on April 7.

The public defenders involved in the trial claim that a Washoe County judge illegally set a premature deadline of April 20 to file a motion to declare Guzman intellectually disabled. The motion’s deadline was set five months before the trial is scheduled to start on September 20.

The Nevada Supreme Court will also be determining whether Washoe and Douglas counties’ district attorneys can prosecute Guzman in a Reno court for the homicides. His public defenders argue that since the Washoe grand jury indicted him, they have no jurisdiction over the two murders that occurred in Douglas County.

Guzman is an El Salvadoran immigrant living in the United States illegally and accused of killing four northern Nevadans in January 2019. A few months later, he pleaded not guilty to all charges against him including four counts of open murder, burglary and possession of stolen weapons.

The case drew a lot of attention at the time from then-president Donald Trump in his call for a border wall to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S., especially those guilty for violent and sexual related crimes and repeat offenders. The number of people currently at the wall and the overflow at holding facilities has now become a crisis, despite the Biden administration attempting to tone down the rhetoric.