RENO, Nev. (AP) – Public defenders are trying to persuade a judge to indefinitely postpone the trial for a Salvadoran immigrant accused of killing four northern Nevadans because COVID-19 travel restrictions prevent them from going to El Salvador to gather evidence for his defense.
Washoe County District Judge Connie Steinheimer cleared the way last week for Wilber Ernesto Martinez-Guzman to be tried in Reno for the four homicides committed in two counties during a 10-day rampage in January 2019.
But she scheduled a hearing for late Wednesday afternoon to hear arguments on whether the trial that’s been delayed several times should be postponed indefinitely. No trial date currently is set.
Martinez-Guzman’s lawyers have said they need to go to El Salvador to gather information about his background, including his mental capacity. Travel to the country is currently is prohibited due to the coronavirus.
Martinez-Guzman, 21, faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted. He was indicted last year