Admitted MS-13 gang member found guilty in Lynchburg teen's murder
Josue Coreas-Ventura is accused of two aggravated murder charges alleging he was part of the violent MS-13 street gang and took part in the 2017 killing of a 17-year-old Lynchburg teen, Raymond Wood. (Blue Ridge Regional Jail)

An admitted MS-13 gang member was found guilty Monday of his role in the 2017 murder of a Lynchburg teen.

"It has been a very difficult trial. I know it was for the prosecution team. I am sure it was for the jurors as well. We are very thankful for the result they brought. I know it sends a strong message that this community takes these crimes of violence very seriously, and we greatly appreciate their service and the response that they gave today," said Wes Nance, Bedford County Commonwealth's attorney.

The Commonwealth rested its case Friday in a trial that revealed grisly details of the teenager's murder.

Josue Coreas-Ventura is one of six people charged in connection to 17-year-old Raymond Wood's murder in March 2017.

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The defense and the Commonwealth both offered closing statements on Monday, sending the 12-person jury into deliberation.

"It was very important to the commonwealth and to Raymond’s family to charge this to the fullest extent of the law. And to have that response from the jurors, it puts us in a very good place to make sure Coreas-Ventura never threatens another individual for the rest of his natural life," said Nance.

Nance said Coreas-Ventura's DNA is linked to physical evidence that points Wood's murder right back to him. 

The Commonwealth says evidence supports that Wood was killed by Ventura and the MS-13 clique because they wanted territory in Lynchburg. 

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The defense counsel said in closing statements that the Commonwealth’s narrative is fake and created to satisfy the law and that Ventura is guilty of only first-degree murder.

"We severed one of the two charges of aggravated murder. Because some of the evidence might be prejudiced towards Mr.Coreas Ventura. We will take this one step at a time. We are very appreciative of the verdict we received today. Whether that date gets set for trial, before the sentencing or afterward. We just do not know at this point," said Nance.

The defense council described Wood as an “escalator” in the situation and said that the murder was not caused for territorial reasons but because Wood was disrespectful to the gang members. 

Coreas-Ventura was found guilty of aggravated murder and abduction for financial gain for his part in the violent MS-13 street gang and killing of Wood.

"This was a horrific crime. It shocks the conscious of career law men and women. We are going to do everything we can to bring justice for Raymond Woods's memory. To his friends and to his family. We will leave no stone unturned. We will be with this until there is full justice and full accountability for every individual that was associated with this horrendous crime," said Nance. 

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