’I pray God may give you the strength to move forward’: Convicted murderer receives two life sentences in Bedford County murder
Before the agreement, Soto-Bonilla could have received the death penalty
BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – Less than 24 hours after being found guilty, now-convicted capital murderer Kevin Soto-Bonilla learned his fate.
It was a mother’s cry on the stand, that ultimately led Kevin Soto-Bonilla to change his plea to guilty.
“I stay strong as much as I possibly can cause I want the justice done for my son. I feel like there was no mercy for my son, at all,” Marjorie Stagno, Raymond Wood’s mother, said.
Soto-Bonilla known as “the butcher” played a part in the slaying of 17-year-old Raymond Wood.
Police found his body on Roaring Run Road in March 2017.
“No mother should ever have to see pictures of her child brutally murdered like that,” Stagno said.
On Wednesday, a jury found Soto-Bonilla guilty of capital murder, abduction and gang participation in MS-13.
During the lunch break of Thursday’s sentencing proceedings, his legal counsel and the Commonwealth came to the following agreement:
- Soto-Bonilla will spend the rest of his life in prison, without the possibility of parole
- Soto-Bonilla will accept responsibility and his role in the murder of Raymond Wood in March 2017
“Mr. Soto-Bonilla’s life was spared because he came in and took responsibility. I’ll never apologize for showing grace when I have the family’s backing and the evidence to prove what I did in that courtroom,” Wes Nance, Commonwealth attorney, said.
“I think it was really independent that he had to make that decision for himself. He listened to our advice,” Anthony Anderson, defense attorney, said.
When the hearing resumed, Soto-Bonilla pleaded guilty to the jury’s verdict, which declared him guilty of capital murder, abduction and gang participation, but not guilty of robbery.
When asked if he is guilty, he responded, “I am guilty under verdict of the jury.”
He also addressed Raymond Wood’s mother, saying, “I am very sorry to the Wood family. I imagine how a mother would feel. I feel it from my heart and I pray God may give you the strength to move forward. “
“And I hope that will bring some solace to her. Some closure to her. As he said, no mother should ever have to experience what she’s been through,” Anderson said.
On the charge of capital murder, Soto-Bonilla was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
On the charge of abduction, he was sentenced to life in prison.
On the charge of gang participation, he was sentenced to 10 years, the maximum sentence for that charge.
He was found not guilty on the robbery charge.
The sentences will be served consecutively and as part of the agreement with the Commonwealth, Soto-Bonilla waived his rights to appeal.
According to the judge, Soto-Bonilla had the right to change his plea anytime before sentencing.
The commonwealth said there are two more co-defendants expected to go to trial next year. And there are more alleged gang members in Maryland who have upcoming trials for their role in Wood’s death too.
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