Death row inmate who strangled five-year-old girl executed in Texas

Death row inmate David Santiago Renteria convicted of strangling five-year-old girl after abducting her from Walmart is executed in Texas: ‘I’m sorry for all the wrongs I have done’

  • David Renteria was put to death by lethal injection Thursday night at the state penitentiary in Hunstville for the heinous murder of Alexandra Flores, 5
  • Renteira abducted Flores from the toy aisle at an El Paso Walmart in November 2001 when she was out Christmas shopping with her family 
  • The child killer asked for forgiveness as witnesses – Flores relatives and Renteria’s sister  watched- before he was pronounced dead 7.11pm CST 

A death row inmate convicted of strangling a five-year old girl and then burning her body after he abducted her from the toy aisle of a Texas Walmart – more than two decades ago- was executed on Thursday evening.

David Santiago Renteria, 53, was put to death by lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas, for the heinous killing of Alexandra Flores who was brutally murdered November 2001. 

Witnesses including Flores’ relatives entered the death chamber and watched through a window Renteria’s final moments. He was pronounced dead at 7.11pm CST.

Before the execution, Renteria prayed, sang and asked for forgiveness.

‘I’m sorry for all the wrongs I have done. And for those who have called for my death, who are about to murder me, I forgive you,’ he said.

Flores was out Christmas shopping with her family at the Walmart store in El Paso when she was lured away by Renteria. The little girl’s body was found the next day in an alley 16 miles from the store, prosecutors said.

Pictured:  David Santiago Renteria, 53, was executed on Thursday night – 22 years after the heinous killing of five-year-old Alexandra Flores – who he abducted, strangled and then burned 

Alexandra Flores was murdered by Renteria between November 18-19 over two decades ago after being kidnapped from an El Paso Walmart where her family had been Christmas shopping

On Thursday night in the room known as the ‘death chamber,’ the child killer stood next to a spiritual adviser as he prayed and chanted hymns in both Spanish and English. 

Looking at the victims relatives, he 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.’

Renteria’s sister and a friend, who were also present watched through another window, as he told them he was ‘good… strong,’ before saying his final goodbyes.

‘I love you all, I truly do. I’ll see you in the next life,’ he said.

After he was injected with a lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital, Renteria began reciting The Lord’s Prayer. The drug took about 11 minutes to go into effect.

‘Our father, who art in heaven,’ Renteria said before he paused and said what would be his final words: ‘I taste it.’ 

 The little girl’s family members emotionally watched on as Renteria was executed, holding photos of Flores 

After two loud breaths and a snore, his body went limp. At 7.11pm Central Standard Time, he was pronounced deceased.

Family members of the slain youngster who witnessed the harrowing event as their sibling’s murderer was put to death were emotional.

Holding a photo collage of Flores, the youngest of eight children, siblings Ignacio and Sandra Frausto said through tears that they want to keep their baby sister’s memory alive.

‘I want to recognize her, not forget about her,’ Ignacio Frausto said. ‘It took 22 years but the time came. It is done. We can finally and really begin to heal – 22 years of wondering what was going to happen.’

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

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

Another appeal rejected by the high court without comment late Thursday focused on claims the state’s supply of pentobarbital, the execution drug, had degraded and would cause him ‘terror’ and ‘severe pain’ in violation of the Eight Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Authorities said evidence showed Renteria, a convicted sex offender, carried out the abduction and killing alone and that his lawyers did not raise that defense at his trial. 

Pictured: The gurney used to exectue prisoners at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas, also called the ‘Death Chamber.’ Renteria, 53 was one of two murders on death row that was scheduled for execution on Thursday 

Blood found in Renteria´s van matched the slain girl´s DNA, according to prosecutors, who added that 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 zeroing in on the 5-year-old girl. Grainy surveillance video showed her following Renteria out of the store.

Renteria was convicted on a capital murder charge and was sentenced to death in September of 2003.

Throughout his trial, he argued that a gang had ordered him to kidnap and murder the child.

On several occasions, Renteria has appealed his sentence. Each time, the capital murder sentence has been upheld.

Speaking with local El Paso news station KFOX14, Carlos Leon – who was the police chief at the time of the murder – remembered the devastating case, saying:

‘I think that during my five years as chief that was one of, I think one of the deepest cuts that we had in El Paso, because the entire community was very distraught about what had just happened,’ he said.

‘I wish I had a button where I would delete a certain memory. And that sure would have been one of them. 

‘I promised the mom that we would find the killer and the reason I did that was because I had so much confidence in the great detectives we had.’

Casey McWhorter, 49, was also executed on Thursday in Alabama in the fatal shooting of a man during a 1993 robbery

In August, state District Judge Monique Reyes in El Paso granted a request to stay the execution and ordered prosecutors to turn over their files in the case. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals later overturned Reyes´ orders.

In 2006, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals threw out Renteria´s death sentence, saying prosecutors provided misleading evidence that gave jurors the impression Renteria was not remorseful.

During a new resentencing trial in 2008, Renteria was again sentenced to death.

The execution was one of two carried out Thursday in the United States. Renteria was the eighth inmate in Texas put to death this year.

In Alabama, inmate Casey McWhorter received a lethal injection Thursday evening for a murder conviction in the fatal shooting of a man during a 1993 robbery.

There have been 23 executions in the U.S. this year, including the two carried out on Thursday.

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