Another alleged MS-13 gang member found guilty in 2017 murder of Lynchburg teen

Another alleged MS-13 gang member has been found guilty in the murder of a Lynchburg teenager.

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – Another alleged MS-13 gang member has been found guilty in the murder of a Lynchburg teenager.

Cristian Jose Sanchez-Gomez appeared before Bedford Circuit Court Friday and was found guilty after reaching a plea agreement.

He was charged with the following:

  • First-degree murder (amended from capital murder) - pleaded no contest
  • Abduction (amended from abduction for financial benefit) - pleaded no contest
  • Gang participation - pleaded guilty

A separate charge of robbery against Sanchez-Gomez was dropped.

According to Wes Nance, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Bedford County, the plea agreement was reached, in part, because Sanchez-Gomez testified three times on behalf of the Commonwealth.

“We’re very pleased that there’s going to be both consideration of his cooperation, but also accountability for Raymond Wood’s death,” said Nance.

Sanchez-Gomez claimed to have a minor role in Wood’s murder and claims he didn’t inflict any injury.

“He’s always denied to us that he directly inflicted injuries to Raymond Wood. We would’ve had evidence that reproduced otherwise,” said Nance.

Sanchez-Gomez is one of five people charged in connection to the 2017 murder of Raymond Wood, who was 17 at the time of his death.

Raymond Wood (Credit: Dale Wood) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

Sanchez-Gomez testified against one of the other people charged, Josue Coreas-Ventura, who appeared in court last Thursday.

The soft-spoken witness told prosecutors he traveled from Maryland to Lynchburg with a group of other alleged gang members, but he claimed he did not know why.

[Lynchburg mother speaks out after 5 alleged MS-13 gang members charged for son’s death]

It wasn’t until he was at Coreas-Ventura’s apartment, saw the nearly 10-inch knife, and heard him allegedly say they were going to “use it to make the soup” or murder someone.

Sanchez-Gomez said the group arrived at Wood’s home, where they beat him, then drove him to Bedford County as the defendant choked Wood unconscious.

They brought the teen’s body to the side of the road, where he says the men took turns stabbing Woods with that knife. Sanchez-Gomez witness claimed a car was coming, so the men ran right before it was his turn to use the knife.

Defense attorney Carter Garrett said Sanchez-Gomez was not directly involved.

“When they started on this horrific, awful butchering of this poor kid; our client was behind the car throwing up because he was so disgusted by the whole event,” said Garrett.

Sanchez-Gomez is set to be sentenced on July 15. Nance says there are no more trials in connection to Wood’s murder in Bedford County.

About the Authors:

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a content producer in July 2018.

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