Jury recommends 55 years for man in connection to murder of Lynchburg teen

Rodas is one of six men charged in connection with murder of Raymond Wood


The jury has recommended a 55-year sentence for Victor Rodas.  

They recommended 35 years for first-degree murder, 10 years for abduction and 10 years for gang participation. 

The judge will make his final decision on sentencing at a later date.

Two other men have taken plea deals in this case and three others have yet to go to trial.

The jury has found Victor Rodas guilty of first-degree murder, abduction and gang participation.

He was found not guilty of robbery.

The fate of Victor Rodas is now in the hands of the jury. 

Rodas faces four charges in connection with the murder of Lynchburg teen Raymond Wood last year.

Those four charges are first-degree murder, abduction, robbery and gang participation.

On the charge of first-degree murder, the jury can find the defendant guilty, not guilty or guilty of second-degree murder.

On the charge of abduction, the jury can find the defendant guilty, not guilty or guilty of abduction for financial benefit.

On the charges of robbery and gang participation, the jury can find the defendant either guilty or not guilty.

In order to be convicted, the jury's decision on each charge must be unanimous.

The jury began deliberating shortly before 12:45 p.m.

Rodas is one of six men charged in connection to the murder of Raymond Wood.

Before the prosecution rested, it called its final witness, Dr. Amy Tharp.

Tharp was the assistant medical examiner from Roanoke, and testified as an expert in the field of forensic pathology. 

She received Raymond Wood's body March 28 and was able to identify him through dental records. 

During her testimony, several pictures of Wood's mutated body were shown in court.

These pictures showed his amputated right hand and severe cuts on his neck.

Four of his wounds from the front of his body went all the way through to his back.

Marjorie Stagno, Wood's mother, could be heard crying as the pictures of her son were displayed. After the jury came back with their verdict,  she took the stand one last time to tell Victor Rodas how the murder of her son has devasted her life. 

"You have deprived us from a lifetime of milestones and future memories. You have caused unimaginable pain and sorrow to our family," Stagno said. "I could never put into words the agony that I now have to live daily without Raymond. He brought us so much joy and happiness." 

Stagno, whose face was not allowed to be shown for her safety, also spoke in court expressing her condolences to Wood's mother, saying she feels her pain. She said if her son did not go with those boys no one would be here today...but she says...he didn't have an option.

Tharp testified that the deepest knife wound was 6 1/2 inches deep and that there was enough bright-red blood to indicate Wood was alive at the time his hand was cut off.

She said his cause of death was sharp-force injuries to his neck, torso and arm. 

The defense did not call any witnesses and did not have any evidence to present.