On Thursday, a Texas death row inmate named David Renteria, aged 53, was executed via lethal injection for the abduction and murder of a 5-year-old girl 22 years ago. The Texas Department of Corrections confirmed the execution, making Renteria the eighth inmate to be put to death by the state this year.
The lethal injection process began at 7 p.m. and Renteria was pronounced dead at 7:11 p.m. at the Texas State Penitentiary.
It was reported that Renteria’s defense attorneys made several attempts to halt the execution, but they were unsuccessful. The state of Texas no longer fulfills last meal requests, and the staff members who would have known Renteria’s final meal were occupied with post-execution cleanup.
Renteria’s mother and spiritual advisor witnessed the execution from one viewing chamber, while the family members of Alexandra Flora, the victim, observed from another.
In his final words, Renteria expressed remorse and acknowledged the pain he had caused. He asked for forgiveness from those he had hurt and claimed to have forgiven those who had called for his death. Renteria referenced a quote by Abraham Lincoln about mercy and redemption.
Just hours before the execution, Renteria’s lawyers attempted to stay the execution, but their efforts were rejected both by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Supreme Court. Prosecutors stated that Renteria abducted Flores from an El Paso Walmart while she was shopping with her family.
Surveillance video revealed Flores following Renteria out of the store, and her charred body was discovered the following day about 16 miles away.
Renteria, a former warehouse worker, claimed that he was coerced into committing the crime by a gang member named “Flaco” from Barrio Azteca who threatened his family. However, a federal judge dismissed witness statements supporting Renteria’s claim, and blood prints found in his van matched the victim’s DNA.
Additionally, Renteria’s palm print was found on a bag placed over the girl’s head before she was set on fire.
Renteria’s earlier death sentence was initially blocked in 2006 due to allegations of misleading evidence presented by prosecutors regarding his lack of remorse. However, he was resentenced to death in a retrial in 2008. Prior to this crime, Renteria had already served a 20-year prison sentence for indecency with a child in El Paso County.