Alleged MS-13 gang member sentenced for murder of VA teen

Alleged MS-13 gang member sentenced for murder of VA teen
In October, a jury found Victor Rodas guilty of killing 17-year-old Raymond Wood in Bedford County.

BEDFORD CO, VA (WDBJ7) - An alleged MS-13 gang member convicted of the murder of a Lynchburg teen will spend 55 years in prison.

Raymond Wood, 17, was found with 29 stab wounds in Bedford County in 2017.

In October, a jury found Victor Rodas guilty of killing him. The jury recommended Rodas spend 35 years in prison for first degree murder, 10 years in prison for abduction and 10 years in prison for gang participation.

Friday, Judge James Updike took the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Rodas to 55 years in prison.

Rodas is one of six people charged in connection with Wood’s death. Four co-defendants are facing capital murder.

WDBJ7 spoke with the Commonwealth's Attorney, Wes Nance, about the latest on each of these men's cases.

Kevin Soto-Bonilla's hearing is set for July 22 and his jury trial will start the next day.

Cristian Sanchez-Gomez has not yet entered a plea. His case will likely be set after any and all contested trials are heard.

Lisandro Vasquez has taken responsibility for his actions with the entry of his plea, but will likely wait to be sentenced after the contested trials are over.

Jose Coreas Ventura will have to have a competency hearing to determine when a trial date can be set.

Juan Hernandez is the only man of the five not charged with capital murder. He's charged with accessory after the fact. Currently, his trial is set for March 12.

Rodas’ trial in October lasted four days. It was an emotional week for many.

On the third day of trial a co-defendant took the stand and said that while Rodas was driving to Wood's murder location, Wood was screaming in the back seat for his mother.

Moments after Rodas was found guilty of the first degree murder, Wood's mother took the stand.

"You have deprived us from what should have been a lifetime of milestones and future memories," said Marjorie Stagno, reading from a notebook that had a picture of her and her son on it. "You have caused unimaginable pain and sorrow to our family."

"I distinctly remember the press conference we had over a year ago when we first talked about having justice for the family of Raymond Wood," Nance told WDBJ7 in October. "This was the first major step toward that."

Nance called in more than a dozen witnesses over the course of four days to connect Rodas to MS-13 and the planning of Wood's death.

He called on pictures of gang symbols found in Rodas' notebook and testimony from co-conspirators that Rodas had knowledge of the knife they would use to kill Wood.

Matthew Pack, Rodas' attorney, argued Rodas thought they were just going to beat Wood up and was ordered to drive the car. He drove away before Wood was stabbed. He said that if an MS-13 member orders you to do something, you have no choice.

"If they give an order it better be followed. If it's not followed, then there's punishment," said Pack. "Up to and including death. Death to you and death to your family."

After reviewing over 100 pieces of evidence, the 12 person jury found Rodas guilty on three of his four charges in October.

Copyright 2019 WDBJ. All rights reserved.