Murder trial for Lynchburg teen begins

Victor Rodas, 1 of 6 charged in connection to Raymond Wood's death

By Magdala Louissaint - Lynchburg Bureau Reporter

BEDFORD, Va, - For the first time, jurors heard details about the alleged gang killing of a Lynchburg teenager. Victor Rodas is one of six charged in connection to Raymond Wood's death. The 17-year-old's badly mutilated body was found in Bedford County last March.

Fourteen jurors heard opening statements from both the Commonwealth and Rodas' defense attorney on Tuesday.

During the course of the trial, Commonwealth Attorney Wes Nance wants to prove Rodas' actions played a part in Wood's death and his involvement with the MS13 gang.

Matthew Pack, Roda's defense attorney, says his client got involved with a dangerous individual-- Jose Coreas Ventura, who introduced him to Wood and was just the driver the night Wood was killed. 
In court on Tuesday, the Commonwealth said Wood and Rodas knew each other through marijuana deals.

Nance said the jury will see group text messages showing Rodas' involvement with other alleged gang members and how they plotted to kill Wood.

"His lies will show you exactly what was going to take place 'cause Raymond Wood had to die for several reasons. He had to die for MS-13. He had to die for the Sailors. He had to die for his (Rodas) reputation and rank within that viable organization," Nance said.

"He had no idea what was going on. He was told to get in the vehicle and go on a ride. And when Victor comes back through and he sees what happened, he panics and drives off. He never touched a knife. (He) never touched Raymond," Pack said.

The trial is expected to last about seven days. About 30 witnesses are expected to testify.

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