BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7)-- Victor Rodas appeared in court today for his second day of trial in connection to a Lynchburg teen's death. Raymond Wood was found on Roaring Run Road in Goode last year with 29 stab wounds. Rodas is facing four charges including abduction and first degree murder of Wood.
Piecing together pictures and opening sealed envelopes, investigators gave the court room an inside look at what they saw the night Wood died.
White Timberland boots were displayed on the witness stand next to a Virginia State Police special investigator who said he found them in the car the defendant, Rodas, was driving on March 27th. Wood’s mother testified that the boots were her son's, who was found with no shoes on.
Bedford County investigators also held up the shirt they say Rodas was wearing the night of Wood’s death. It had, what they called, a “grim reaper” on it.
Another Bedford County investigator, Christian Edmondson, testified that she was watching Rodas through a camera while he was sitting in an interrogation room alone on March 28th. The prosecution showed the video she watched. You can see Rodas fidget with his hands and then bend over. Edmondson said Rodas took a screw out of the desk that he was sitting at and was using it to fidget with his hand-cuffs.
"There was a small black screw I'd say maybe an inch long," said Edmundson. "There was a hole at the bottom of the desk that was missing a screw."
The defense team objected the notion that it appeared Rodas was trying to unlock his hand-cuffs. The defense attorney, Matthew Pack, also acknowledged that it was a six minute video of what had been hour 15 in custody for Rodas. Edmondson testified that there were no other issues while he was there.
The prosecution called several witnesses Wednesday and while most were law enforcement officers, not all of them were. An admitted member of the MS-13 clique known as the “Sailors" took the stand.
He could not be shown on camera and was not related to Rodas’ case, but he did testify to gang culture and consequences. He said a gang member would not ask a non-gang member to commit violent crimes, but they would ask a non-gang member to drive a car.
Discussion about gang involvement continued when Kevin Poindexter with the Lynchburg Police Department testified as a gang and digital forensics expert. Poindexter extracted data from a phone he said belonged to Rodas.
He walked a 14 person jury through digital messages he says were sent from Rodas' phone to Wood. He also showed messages that were sent from Rodas to co-defendant, Jose Coreas Ventura, the night Wood died that said, “get to the woods.”
Poindexter projected images of Rodas, taken from his phone, with a hat on that displays the letters “M” and “S”. Images on Rodas’ phone also depicted, what Poindexter called, an MS-13 gang symbol.
Poindexter said additional digital evidence from the phone referenced gang activity.
“There were internet web searches for MS-13 related murders in the state of New York,” said Poindexter. “There were multiple images depicting MS-13 members as characters for lack of a better word."
The defense team denied that Rodas is a member of a gang during opening testimony the first day of the trial. Rodas plead not guilty to the gang participation charge he is facing.
The trial is expected to last several days.