US murder-rape suspect may have fooled monitor

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Associated Press

Posted on March 19, 2013 at 6:36 PM

ALBANY, New York (AP) — The U.S. man charged with killing a woman and raping her 10-year-old daughter after a carjacking was able to remove and reassemble his court-ordered electronic monitoring bracelet to go undetected for hours while carrying out the attacks, authorities said.

David Renz, 29, put the ankle bracelet back together so quickly that it may have prompted what appeared to be a false alarm Thursday night. Officials had told the company not to notify them of the briefest interruptions of monitor signals because they were getting alerts when the bracelets simply struck something.

"''We've never had a case where someone was able to defeat the system like this," said Matthew Brown, U.S. chief probation officer for the Northern District of New York.

Police said Renz went to a mall and abducted the woman and her daughter as they left gymnastics class. He bound them, raped the girl and stabbed the woman, authorities said. The girl escaped.

In Renz's case, Brown said the contractor, BI Inc., notified them about 4 1/2 hours later with an alert that the bracelet, operating with a global positioning system, wasn't moving. Company spokeswoman Monica Hook declined to discuss what happened.

Renz is charged with murder, rape and kidnapping.

"Ankle bracelets don't protect people. They monitor people," said Will Marling, executive director of the National Organization for Victim Assistance.

Renz had been facing federal charges of possessing child pornography. Federal prosecutors had agreed to Renz's release on the recommended conditions, which included a curfew, remaining at an authorized address — his mother's house — avoiding children and places they congregate and restricted computer use. A federal judge agreed to the conditions.

Brown said most sex offenders, probably 95 percent, get to sentencing with no further criminal violations. "You don't see what this guy did. It's a complete anomaly," he said.

Defense attorneys said anyone can cut off ankle bracelets, which are usually authorized by judges for defendants accused of nonviolent crimes like drug offenses. They are advocated by authorities as far less expensive than jail and by defense lawyers as a fairer alternative for people still presumed innocent. Few defendants remove them, since it usually means going right to jail and facing an additional criminal charge.

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Associated Press writer Michael Virtanen contributed.

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