The Texas Department of Corrections reports that a 5-year-old girl who was kidnapped from a retail store and strangled to death was the victim of a Texas death row inmate’s lethal injection execution on Thursday, which took place a little over 22 years ago.
David Renteria, 53, was the ninth prisoner executed by the state this year, despite numerous attempts by his defence lawyers to stop the execution.
Robert Hurst, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Corrections, informed Fox News Digital that Renteria was declared dead at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville at 7:11 p.m. after the fatal injection procedure started at 7 p.m.
Hurst stated that the state of Texas stopped accepting requests for Renteria’s last supper in 2011 and that the employees who would have known about it were “across the street dealing with the cleanup” following the execution.
Hurst claimed that family members of Alexandra Flora, the death row inmate’s victim, watched from one viewing chamber of the state’s execution chamber at the Huntsville Unit prison, while Renteria’s mother and spiritual advisor watched from another.
“Not a day goes by that [he] does not think about that fateful event… and what transpired,” Renteria said to the Flores family in his final words, alluding to the killing and burning of their daughter on November 18, 2001.
“I pray that the Lord gives you peace,” Renteria said. “There are no words to describe what you are going through, and I understand your pain.”
“I am a man of many faults,” he continued. “For those who I have hurt and caused pain in their life, I beg for forgiveness.”
Renteria said he “forgave” those who “called for [his] death and transgressed against [him] and want [him] murdered.”
“Like Abraham Lincoln said once, mercy bears richer fruits than any other attributes,” he said. “I have learned there is no redemption above forgiveness.”
“I’m ready, Warden,” were Renteria’s final words. “Send me home.”
According to the Associated Press, Renteria’s attorneys attempted to stop his execution less than three hours before it was supposed to take place.
While the Supreme Court denied a further plea to halt the execution, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied the stay request without providing a reason.
Five-year-old Flores was allegedly abducted by 31-year-old Renteria as she was Christmas shopping with her family at a Walmart in El Paso, according to the prosecution. The Associated Press covered the story at the time.
Prosecutors claimed that the man looked through the store before deciding to target Flores, and shaky security footage reveals that she followed him out. The following day, her burnt corpse was found roughly 16 miles away from the shop.
Renteria, a former warehouse worker, alleges that he was coerced into kidnapping the child by Barrio Azteca gang members, particularly “Flaco.” The gang members allegedly threatened to harm Renteria’s family.
According to reports, Renteria’s defence team has cited witness statements from a lady issued by El Paso police in 2018 and 2020, claiming her ex-husband was a part of Barrio Azteca and was responsible for the death of a girl who went missing from a Walmart.
A federal judge dismissed those statements as “fraught with inaccuracies” in 2018, and was “insufficient to show Renteria’s innocence.”
Prosecutors said that the man’s palm print was discovered on a plastic bag placed over the girl’s head prior to her being set ablaze, and that blood traces discovered on Renteria’s van matched the child’s DNA.
A state district court overturned Renteria’s previous death sentence in 2006 on the grounds that the prosecution had provided jurors with false information suggesting the guy had no regrets.
However, Renteria received a death sentence once more at a 2008 retrial.
According to the Texas Department of Corrections, Renteria was already a convicted sex offender when he committed his alleged crime; he had received a 20-year jail sentence for indecency with a child in El Paso County.