Jury recommends gang member serve 55 years for murdering teen

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Victor Rodas, an alleged MS-13 gang member, was found guilty by a jury Friday of 1st-degree murder, abduction, and involvement with a criminal gang. He was found not guilty of robbery. 

The ruling came on the 4th day of the trial. 

The jury recommended that Victor Rodas serve 55 years in prison for the killing of a Lynchburg teenager.

The jury recommended 35 years for murder, 10 years for abduction and 10 years for involvement with a criminal gang.

The charges are in relation to the murder of 17-year-old Raymond Wood, who was found dead on the side of a road in Bedford County in March of 2017. 

The defense and prosecution rested their cases Friday morning. They started closing arguments around noon. Jury deliberations began around 12:45 p.m. The jury had a verdict ready just after 2 p.m.

On the final day of trial, the Commonwealth presented their last witness, a forensic pathology specialist. The specialist presented evidence on Wood’s body. The jury was shown diagrams of his body and actual photos of what he looked like.

The defense made a motion to strike Rodas’ charges. However, the judge sided with the prosecution and said there was sufficient evidence for the charges. 

The jury is waiting on jury instructions before they deliberate. 

Recap of the trial:

On the first day of trial, jurors heard from Wood’s mother who talked about finding some of her son’s belongings in her yard the night he was reportedly taken. Law enforcement also testified, who talked about pulling over Rodas for speeding and had enough probable cause to detain Rodas after they said they found Wood’s shoes in the vehicle.

On the second day of trial, prosecutors spent much of the day aiming to prove Rodas committed the crimes in connection with gang activity. 

On the third day of trial, a co-defendant took the stand and described in detail the night Wood was allegedly abducted, choked, and killed. 

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