SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — An upstate New York man who cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet, then raped a 10-year-old girl and killed her mother pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder and sex charges.
David Renz admitted in county court that he carjacked the two on March 14, stabbing and strangling the mother to death as she tried to stop him from raping her daughter.
Renz had been under federal monitoring after a child pornography charge and a federal judge was sharply critical of the way probation officers failed to keep track of him.
Renz, 29, pleaded guilty to state charges of first-degree murder and sexual assault against a child. He was expected to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, but the plea bargain can be withdrawn if the federal government seeks the death penalty.
Reading stiffly from a statement as his lawyer looked over his shoulder, Renz described the crimes and said he did not "fully understand" what led him to attack the mother and child.
"But even if I did, an explanation is not a justification nor does it lessen my responsibility for what I've done," he said, at times stumbling over the words.
"I'm truly sorry for my actions and I am prepared to accept the consequences for them," he said. "I hope that by pleading guilty, I will be able to bring closure for the victim and her family."
Authorities say Renz attacked the woman, a school librarian, and her daughter after they left a gymnastics class at a mall in the Syracuse suburb of Clay. Police said he used an air pistol to force the woman to drive her car to a remote section of the mall's parking lot, where he bound both of them and raped the girl.