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Murder weapon front and center on day three of murder trial for Lynchburg teen

Investigator says blade of murder weapon was over 9 inches

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – The murder weapon was the focus of testimony in the third day of the Raymond Wood murder trial.

Investigators say the Lynchburg teen was brutally killed by MS-13 gang members in Bedford County last year.

Victor Rodas is one of six people charged in the 17-year-old's death.

There have been multiple attempts to locate the murder weapon in this case, according to testimony heard Thursday.

But it wasn't until this year that an investigator stumbled upon something that may have never been found. 

Prosecutors called Bedford County Sheriff's Office investigator Jon Maddox back to the stand.

Maddox told the court an interview with a co-defendant in the case led him to an area in the county and on June 6, Maddox went to Longhill Road.

Maddox says as he was returning to his car, something caught his eye. 

"So I decided instead of walking back through the grass, I would walk straight through the woods to my car," Maddox said. "I walked about 20 yards and looked down. There was a shimmer of light that hit just right that caught my attention. I looked down on the ground and saw a metal dragon's head on top of the ground."

The dragon's head was pulled out of a box and shown to the jury. Maddox told the prosecution the blade alone was over 9 inches.

He also said he recognized a knife from an earlier picture showing it in a shadow box hanging on a wall. 

A co-conspirator who cannot be named says he met with other members of the MS-13 Sailors Clique, including Victor Rodas, as they planned the killing of Raymond Wood.

He says a higher ranking gang member went to the room and brought back a knife, making signals of how he was going to use it to cut off Woods' hands and feet.

The co-conspirator says he saw Rodas laughing in response and says his demeanor seemed normal.   

The co-conspirator also says Rodas gave him the keys to his white Honda Del Sol while Rodas drove the dark-colored car of the co-conspirator. 

The prosecution called Sgt. Claudio Saa, as an expert in MS-13 gangs. He explained the history of the gang in the U.S., the meaning behind their name and how one could become a member. Saa was shown multiple pictures of Victor Rodas wearing an MS-13 hat, drawings of the gang signs from a notebook. He explained that any person such as Rodas, would not be allowed to wear an MS-13 hat, clothing or use hand gestures if they were not a member.  

The last witness on the stand Thursday was a co-defendant to testify for the commonwealth against Victor Rodas. 

The person, who was also not shown on camera, went into graphic detail about how he and other alleged members of the MS-13 gang killed Raymond Wood in March 2017.

He said Rodas was driving the car that night of Wood's abduction and murder. He said Wood was being beaten and held down in the back seat of the car by several of the co-defendants. He says Wood was yelling in the back seat, yelling for his mother, for help.

He saw Wood eventually stopped moving and got quiet. He then says Wood was brought to Roaring Run Road where he was taken out the car and placed in the road. At this time, Rodas drove away from the area.

Shortly after, the co-defendant said they took turns using a knife to stab Wood. They eventually left the scene and buried the knife which was later found in June 2018. 

The prosecution is expected to call it's final witness Friday.