Self-identified MS-13 gang leader testifies during murder trial of a Lynchburg teen

Witness: Defendant asked for help to kill teen because ‘he had a chicken he wanted to make a dish out of’

The trial for one of the last accused MS-13 gang members charged in the brutal murder of Lynchburg Teen Raymond Wood continued on Wednesday.

BEDFORD, Va. – The trial continued Wednesday for one of the last accused MS-13 gang members charged in the brutal 2017 murder of Lynchburg teen Raymond Wood.

Seven more people testified on the second day of the trial, some of whom could not be photographed in the courtroom.

One was Michael Contreras, who identified himself with the MS-13 gang as one of the leaders of the local subgroup clique called the “Sailors.”

He wore an orange jumpsuit and ankle shackles in the courtroom as he testified against Josue Coreas-Ventura, who Contreras said was a member of the local clique.

The witness said he assigned four men to travel from Maryland to Lynchburg to help Coreas-Ventura kill someone, but claimed he didn’t know who or specifically why.

He says the defendant simply told him “he had a chicken he wanted to make a dish out of” while trying to takeover Lynchburg as his territory for selling marijuana and cocaine.

Other witnesses who testified Wednesday included a forensics scientist, a Bedford farmer who allegedly found the accused MS-13 members hiding in a barn where he worked near the crime scene, and law enforcement.

Virginia State Police Special Agent Lee Willis said he interrogated the defendant and his behavior changed when authorities left the room.

“He began chewing, sucking, licking his fingers constantly from hand to hand… I also observed him giving several gang signs,” said Willis, who also said Coreas-Ventura did not behave like that when he was in the room with him.

Along with that surveillance video, other evidence included a bag of marijuana, DNA test samples, and a pair of gloves that had Raymond Wood’s blood on it.

At least six more witnesses are expected to testify over the next two days.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.