New details revealed in Raymond Wood murder case

Investigators say staged drug deal lured Wood to scene

By Tommy Lopez - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. - More evidence was revealed Tuesday in the murder of a Lynchburg teenager.

There was a preliminary hearing in Bedford County for Victor Rodas, one of the five alleged MS-13 gang members facing a murder charge in the killing of 17-year-old Raymond Wood last year.

A judge denied four motions Tuesday that would have kept certain evidence against him out of his upcoming trial.

Rodas’ lawyer argued that his client gave information to investigators even though they hadn't properly advised him of his rights.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Wes Nance questioned a Bedford County Sheriff’s Office detective who testified to the steps investigators took to make sure Rodas understood his right to an attorney.

In court, Nance said that Rodas told investigators that he and others staged a drug deal - for marijuana - to get Wood to the location. Nance also revealed what investigators believe were other details of the planning and execution of the murder.

Other details that came out in the hearing were regarding the crime scene. 

Sheriff's deputies said before they examined Wood’s body, they thought it was a DUI hit-and-run case. They also said they found a sharp instrument at the scene.

The jury trial for Rodas is scheduled for Oct. 16. None of the five people accused have gone to trial yet.

Rodas was 19 when deputies arrested him last year. His mother and father were in court for Tuesday’s hearing and denied a request to speak to 10 News afterward.

Rodas, dressed in a suit, used a Spanish translator during the hearing. Deputies testified that during interviews he replied to many of their questions in English. To them, that demonstrated that he understood them. They also testified that there was a Spanish speaker present during the interviews to translate.

Rodas is facing a first-degree murder charge. The other four men are facing a capital murder charge, which can include the death penalty. They are: Christian Sanchez-Gomez, Lisandro Posada-Vasquez, Josue Coreas-Ventura and Kevin Soto-Bonilla.

There are trials and hearings scheduled through January in the case.

Sheriff Mike Brown said last year that, at that time, the motive for the March 2017 killing appeared to be drug-related.

"This is not a random act, and has a connection to narcotic-related activity," Brown said in April 2017.

The judge denied media requests to have cameras in the courtroom Tuesday, saying his policy is to deny all requests for pretrial hearings. 

In May, a judge ruled to allow cameras in the courtroom for the trial for Sanchez-Gomez.

A lawyer representing Soto-Bonilla said earlier this month that his January trial should be relocated out of Bedford County because the jury may be biased due to media coverage.

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