BEDFORD — A man charged with capital murder in the March 2017 death of a Lynchburg teen will not have a separate trial for another charge accusing him of being a member of the violent MS-13 gang.
Kevin Soto Bonilla, 22, is scheduled to stand trial in early December for the killing of 17-year-old Raymond Wood. He’s one of four defendants charged with capital murder, gang participation, robbery and abduction for pecuniary benefit from Wood’s death.
Soto Bonilla’s attorneys made a motion in his case this week to have a separate trial for his gang participation charge. In order to prove that crime, Bedford County Commonwealth’s Attorney Wes Nance has to prove MS-13 is a violent street gang by introducing crimes that members have committed in the past, as well as that Soto Bonilla is a member.
During an October trial for Soto Bonilla’s codefendant, Victor Arnoldo Rodas, Nance had a former MS-13 gang member testify to violent murders that’d been carried out for the gang in the past.
Another codefendant, Josue Moises Coreas-Ventura, made a similar motion to separate the gang participation charge, but Bedford Circuit Court Judge James Updike denied it. Citing that decision, he denied Soto Bonilla’s motion Friday.
Soto Bonilla’s trial date is scheduled for Dec. 2
— Rachael Mahoney