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The Journal Gazette

  • Martinez-Guzman

Friday, March 22, 2019 1:00 am

Salvadoran in US illegally admits 4 slayings

SCOTT SONNER | Associated Press

RENO, Nev. – 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, which indicted Wilber Ernesto Martinez-Guzman in Reno last week, the 20-year-old who is living in the U.S. illegally broke into tears and repeatedly called himself an “idiot” before confessing to the murders during an interrogation hours after his arrest in Carson City on Jan. 19.

According to the grand jury transcript obtained by The Associated Press, Washoe County Sheriff's Detective Stefanie Brady testified March 13 that Martinez-Guzman initially denied any wrongdoing and was smiling and giggling during some of the questioning.

But after she confronted him with several contradictions in his story during a nearly three-hour interrogation, he said through a Spanish interpreter he had “done something that's unforgiveable.”

She says he told her he shot the victims “because of the drugs.”

“He said he needed the money for the meth and it was the meth,” Brady testified, according to the 268-page transcript filed late Tuesday in Washoe District Court.

A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf during an arraignment Tuesday. His trial isn't scheduled to begin until April 2020. His defense attorney had no immediate comment.

Federal officials have said Martinez-Guzman is in the U.S. illegally but they don't know how or when he crossed the border.

The case has drawn the attention of President Donald Trump, who says it shows the need for a border wall.

District Attorneys Chris Hicks of Washoe County and Mark Jackson of Douglas County announced last week they are seeking the death penalty but that Martinez-Guzman's immigration status had nothing to do with that decision.