US won't seek death penalty in carjacking, killing

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Associated Press

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 14 at 3:36 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Federal authorities have decided against seeking the death penalty for the upstate New York man who cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet, then raped a 10-year-old girl and killed her mother last year, U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian said Wednesday.

The Justice Department declined to authorize a death penalty prosecution on carjacking charges against 30-year-old David Renz, prosecutors said.

If the federal government had decided to pursue the death penalty in its case, Renz could have withdrawn his guilty pleas to state charges in the mother's death and rape of the girl, even as he faces sentencing Friday in state court to life in prison without parole. New York has no death penalty.

Renz also was sentenced earlier this year to 30 years in federal prison for possessing more than 11,000 images and 1,100 videos of child pornography.

"No sentence that could ever be imposed in this case will undo the tragic death ... or the pain inflicted on the young victim, or adequately account for the depravity of the crimes committed," Hartunian said. "The mandatory life sentence in state court and the imposition of an additional 30 year federal consecutive sentence will insure that David Renz can do no further harm."

Renz admitted last year that he carjacked the two on March 14, 2013, in suburban Syracuse, stabbing and strangling the mother as she tried to stop him from raping her daughter. He had been under federal monitoring on child pornography charges. He was arrested that night and has been jailed since then. Renz pleaded guilty to state charges of first-degree murder and sexual assault against a child.

Reading from a statement in court last July, Renz described the crimes and said he did not "fully understand" what led him to attack the mother and child. He apologized and said he hoped that by pleading guilty it would bring the family some closure.

Authorities say Renz attacked the woman, a school librarian, and her daughter after they left a gymnastics class at a mall in Clay. Police said he used an air pistol to force the woman to drive her car to a remote section of the parking lot, where he bound both of them and raped the girl.

Prosecutors say Renz was trying to use cable ties to bind the woman to a headrest in her car when she fought back and shouted for the girl to bolt from the vehicle. The girl ran and was rescued by a passing motorist. Her mother was strangled and repeatedly stabbed, authorities say. Renz was captured by police shortly afterward.

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