MS-13 member sentenced to 55 years in murder of Lynchburg teen

By Samantha Smith - Digital Content Producer, Magdala Louissaint - Lynchburg Bureau Reporter

LYNCHBURG, Va. - An MS-13 gang member has been sentenced to 55 years after the brutal murder of a Lynchburg teen. 

Victor Rodas was found guilty in October of first-degree murder, abduction and gang participation. 

The jury recommended a sentence of 35 years for murder, 10 years for abduction and 10 years for gang participation. 

"By statute, he gets credit for the time he's already served, so he has about two years under his belt. Under present day parole, he has to serve at least 85 percent of that time even if he's the best of behavior,"  said Wes Nance, commonwealth attorney.

Rodas is one of five men charged in Raymond Wood's murder. Prosecutors said Rodas was the driver of the vehicle the night Wood was lured from his home, attacked and killed. 
Wood's body was found on Roaring Run Road in Bedford. 

Nance said that Rodas told investigators that he and others staged a drug deal, for marijuana, to get Wood to the location where he was killed.

In court on Friday Marjorie Stagno, Wood's mother, cried as she told the courtroom how Wood's death has impacted their family.  

"At the end of the day, I don’t have a son," she said, "My other son doesn’t have his brother. My sisters don’t have their nephew. My nieces and nephews don’t have their cousin ... but what’s devastating the most, my mom doesn’t have a grandson. Nothing is ever going to bring him back. So please, I want the maximum justice possible (sentence). Please give the jury’s recommendation. I would appreciate it.”

Roda's mother also testified. She asked the judge to be fair and have mercy on her son. 

The judge ultimately followed through with the jury's recommendation in October. 

Nance said he and the family were pleased with the judge's decision. 

"We have a long road in front of us but I can tell you that they are appreciative of Judge Updike ruling today of the jury's recommendation and certainly they share my appreciation to all the different law enforcement agencies to this first successful end, to this long saga," Nance said.

According to Rodas' attorney, his client will file an appeal.

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