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Onondaga County DA announces indictment in Bresnahan murder

An Onondaga County grand jury has returned a 37-count indictment against the Cicero man accused of raping a 10-year old girl and stabbing a Liverpool woman to death last month. 

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick says you can't read the facts of this case without crying.  In announcing grand jury charges of first- and second-degree murder, felony rape and kidnapping, Fitzpatrick outlined how 29-year-old David Renz allegedly ambushed 47-year old Lori Bresnahan and a 10-year-old girl Fitzpatrick referred to as "Jane Doe" in the parking lot of the Great Northern Mall March 14.

Renz is accused of raping the child in a car in a remote part of the parking lot, and ultimately stabbing Bresnahan to death after forcing her to drive to Verplank Road, where the child escaped from the car.  Renz was already facing a federal investigation of child pornography charges. And Fitzpatrick wants to use pornography found at Renz's home as part of the case.

"The pornography viewed by Mr. Renz, allegedly, mirrors in some very important respects, the crime he perpetrated on Jane Doe," said Fitzpatrick. "Now sometime today, somewhere in America, some bloviating academic will get up on a stage and say there's absolutely no relationship between pornography and violent behavior. And everyone in this room knows that's not true."

The district attorney says the facts show that Bresnehan died heroically.

"The one thing that I did take away from it is that Lori died really saving Jane Doe. There's no question that she attempted to distract Renz, so little Jane could get away."

The 10-year-old is a prime witness in the case.

Fitzpatrick says he'll seek the maximum penalty of life without parole if Renz is convicted of the first-degree murder charges, which are defined as an intentional murder committed during the course of a felony.  In this case there are four felonies, including kidnapping and rape.  Federal authorities are also ready to try Renz on the pornography charges and are investigating how he escaped from an ankle bracelet meant to keep him at home in the evenings, while he was awaiting trial for those charges.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.