DOUGLAS COUNTY, NV – An illegal immigrant and serial killer from El Salvador has been sentenced to two life sentences – to be served consecutively – after he pleaded guilty in a murder case involving the deaths of four people in Nevada.
Ernesto Martinez-Guzman, 23, accepted a plea deal from the prosecutor and admitted to two of the four slayings in exchange for two life sentences on Thursday; he agreed to the deal in order to avoid being sent to Death Row, reports say.
A region-wide manhunt began after Connie Koontz, age 56, was found dead in her Gardnerville home on January 10, 2019. Sophia Renken, 74, was found shot to death in her home in Gardnerville on January 13. Gerald and Sharon David, 81 and 80 respectively, were found dead in their home in Washoe Valley on January 16.
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Martinez-Guzman’s victims – all of whom he worked for as a landscaper – were shot and killed as he committed a series of robberies in January 2019, during which he only netted a mere $179. However, officials say that the robberies were only secondary to his true motives- a sinister desire to murder people.
Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson said at Thursday’s sentencing hearing that Martinez-Guzman was a born criminal who enjoyed the taking of human lives.
“This case is about him getting a thrill out of committing burglaries and killing,” Jackson said.
One of the items he stole during his crime spree – an Apple watch – was used by police to track him down and arrest him.
Martinez-Guzman – whose crimes were cited by then-President Donald Trump as a reason a southern Mexican border wall needed to be built amid a swell in illegal border crossings – is set to be sentenced for separate burglary charges on Friday.
Martinez-Guzman had reportedly illegally snuck into the United States from El Salvador when he was 16 years old.