Texas man executed for murdering five-year-old girl after abducting her from supermarket

David Renteria
David Renteria. (Image: Texas Department of Criminal Justice/AP)

A man who strangled a five-year-old girl to death after kidnapping her from a Walmart store while her family were Christmas shopping has been executed.

David Renteria, 53, was given a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas, following the death of Alexandra Flores in November 2001.

The girl, the youngest of eight children, was led away from the store in El Paso by Renteria before he strangled her and set her body on fire, prosecutors said.

The child’s remains were found the next day in an alley 16 miles (25km) away.

Renteria prayed before singing a hymn in English and another in Spanish after witnesses, including relatives of his victim, entered the death chamber and watched through a window a few feet from him during his execution.

He asked the family for forgiveness and said: “I’m sorry for all the wrongs I have done. And for those wo have called for my death, who are about to murder me, I forgive you.”

Killer’s final words

Looking at his victim’s relatives, Renteria also said: “There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about the fateful events of that day and what transpired.

“There are no words to describe what you’re going through, and I understand that.”

He told his sister and a friend, watching through another window, that he was “good… strong”.

“I love you all, I truly do. I’ll see you in the next life,” Renteria added.

He then began reciting The Lord’s Prayer as the drugs began flowing. “Our father, who art in heaven” is as far as he got.

“I taste it,” he said of the drug, before mumbling something and all movement stopped.

He was executed with a dose of pentobarbital, a powerful sedative.

Convicted killer David Renteria looks in the direction of the jury as a recess is called after his mother broke down during questioning of his resentencing trial.
Renteria during his re-sentencing trial in El Paso, Texas, in 2008

 

Renteria’s execution proceeded after the US Supreme Court declined two separate defence requests for a stay earlier in the day.

One request stemmed from efforts by Renteria’s lawyers to gain access to evidence they said could have shown he was not responsible for the girl’s death.

Another appeal rejected by the court late on Thursday focused on claims the state’s supply of pentobarbital had degraded and would cause him “terror” and “severe pain” in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Abduction caught on CCTV

Prosecutors had said blood found in Renteria’s van matched Alexandra’s and his palm print was found on a plastic bag put over the girl’s head before her body was set on fire.

Renteria was accused of patrolling the store for about 40 minutes before focusing on the youngster.

Grainy surveillance video showed her following Renteria out of the store.

Renteria had long claimed members of a gang called Barrio Azteca, including a person going by the nickname “Flaco”, forced him to take the girl by making threats to his family – and that it was the gang members who killed her.

The claims by Renteria’s lawyers were based on witness statements released by El Paso police in 2018 and 2020 in which a woman told investigators that her ex-husband, a Barrio Azteca member, was involved in the death of a girl who had gone missing from a Walmart.

A federal judge in 2018 said the woman’s statement was “fraught with inaccuracies” and was “insufficient to show Renteria’s innocence.”

Authorities said evidence showed Renteria carried out the abduction and killing alone.

 

Casey McWhorter was also executed on Thursday. Pic: AP
Casey McWhorter was also executed on Thursday. (Image: AP)

 

Renteria was the eighth inmate in Texas to be executed this year.

His execution was one of two carried out in the US on Thursday.

Casey McWhorter received a lethal injection in Alabama for fatally shooting a man during a 1993 robbery.

The two executions bring the total in the US this year to 23.

Source:  Sky News news.sky.com

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