For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office has announced that a recent murder prosecution has resulted in a life sentence for a Reno woman. The case involved the January 6, 2016 stabbing death of a 21 year old Reno man at a downtown motel. The sentence ensures that the defendant will spend 18 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.
Victoria Teresa-Marie Sweeting,41, from Reno was sentenced on Thursday, March 30, 2017 by judge Patrick Flanagan on one count of Murder – Second Degree with the Use of a Deadly Weapon. Sweeting had previously pled guilty to the charge in November, 2016.
On January 6, 2016, the Reno Police Department (RPD) were called to a report of a fight at a Downtown Reno motel. When officers arrived they met with witnesses who identified the victim as Michael Joseacuna Banquicio. RPD Officers determined that Banquicio had been stabbed in the upper back and shoulder by Sweeting after an argument. Banquicio had been transported to the hospital before officers arrived, but was later pronounced dead. RPD Robbery Homicide Unit(RHU) detectives were called to the scene and Sweeting was located a short time later after fleeing to an associate’s apartment in Reno. Detectives determined that Sweeting had been at the motel visiting friends when she and Banquicio got into an argument. According to Sweeting, Banquicio hit her on the side of the face after she “got in his face” during the argument, and she left the room. Sweeting returned later and confronted Banquicio about what happened and Banquicio hit her again. Sweeting left and unsuccessfully attempted to solicit help from residents of a different room to confront Banquicio and beat him up. A short time later, Sweeting returned to the room Banquicio was in armed with a knife. Sweeting stabbed Banquicio twice, once in the upper back and once in the shoulder. Sweeting was subsequently arrested and this office filed murder charges against her.
At sentencing, Chief Deputy Luke Prengaman argued that the stabbing was a result of anger, not fear, and that Sweeting’s failure to address her substance abuse as a 41-year-old adult, in spite of many opportunities to do so, aggravated her crime. The victim, Prengaman argued, ultimately suffered the consequences of Sweeting’s repeated decisions to follow the wrong path.