Charges upgraded in alleged gang-related slaying

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By Tom Wilmoth



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Today, Friday, the June session of the Bedford County Grand Jury was held to consider a number of proposed indictments. Three defendants who were previously charged for their alleged role in the death of Raymond Wood on March 27, 2017, saw their charges upgraded by these indictments. True bills were returned against the following individuals.

Josue Coreas-Ventura,  20, and Lisandro Posada-Vasquez,  24, have now been charged with Capital Murder, Robbery, Abduction for Pecuniary Benefit and Participation in a Criminal Act in Association with a Criminal Street Gang.

The third defendant, Victor Arnoldo Rodas,  19, has been charged with First Degree Murder, Robbery, Abduction for Pecuniary Benefit, along with Participation in a Criminal Act in Association with a Criminal Street Gang.

All three are alleged to be known members of the MS-13 gang.

"The difference in charges reflects the alleged differing levels of participation in the death of Raymond Wood," noted Commonwealth's Attorney Wes Nance in a press release.

Upon return of these true bills, arrest warrants will be issued and served against the three individuals. The preliminary hearings for Coreas-Ventura, Posada-Vasquez, and Rodas, set for June 13, 2017, in Bedford's Juvenile and Domestic Court, will no longer take place as those charges will be dropped. The defendants are presently held without bond in the Blue Ridge Regional Jail System, and their initial appearance in the Bedford County Circuit Court will be determined after the service of the aforementioned arrest warrants.

"The Commonwealth has carefully and thoughtfully decided to charge Capital Murder based upon the thorough investigation of the Bedford County Sheriff's Office, the Virginia State Police, the Lynchburg City Police Department, and a multitude of other local, state, and federal agencies," Nance stated in the release. "We also thank the Lynchburg Commonwealth Attorney's Office for its assistance in these matters."

He stated that the investigation into the death of Raymond Wood continues even after these charges. Therefore, anyone who believes that they may have information helpful to this investigation is urged to contact the Bedford County Sheriff's Office at 540-586-4800.

Each of these individuals is presumed to be innocent. The fact that true bills have been returned against them does not change that presumption or the Commonwealth's burden of proof in criminal matters.