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Press Release

David Renz Will Not Face A Federal Death Penalty Prosecution

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Justice has declined to authorize a death penalty prosecution against David Renz in connection with a potential federal carjacking charge and the resulting murder of Lori Bresnahan on March 14, 2013, announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian. The death penalty cannot be sought in any federal prosecution without prior written authorization of the Attorney General. Renz will now be sentenced in Onondaga County Court to imprisonment for life without parole based upon his pleas of guilty to first degree murder and predatory sexual assault against a child.1

United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian stated, “No sentence that could ever be imposed in this case will undo the tragic death of Lori Bresnahan or the pain inflicted on the young victim, or adequately account for the depravity of the crimes committed. The mandatory life sentence in state court and the imposition of an additional 30 year federal consecutive sentence will insure that David Renz can do no further harm.”

All federal criminal prosecutions that carry a potential sentence of death are thoroughly reviewed pursuant to a detailed protocol established by the Department of Justice and involve careful consideration of applicable statutory mitigating and aggravating factors, the federal interest, and all the relevant facts and circumstances. The United States Attorney assembles and analyzes the evidence and applicable law, defense counsel is afforded an opportunity to submit matters in opposition to the death penalty, and the victim’s family is consulted and the views of family members taken into consideration. Following review by the Department’s Capital Case Section, the matter is forwarded to a committee of senior Justice Department lawyers, the Attorney General’s Capital Case Review Committee. The Review Committee then makes its recommendation to the Attorney General, who makes the final decision regarding whether to seek the death penalty.

For further information contact Executive Assistant United States Attorney John G. Duncan at (315)448-0672.


1On April 10, 2013, an Onondaga County grand jury returned a 37-count indictment that charged Renz with kidnapping, rape, criminal sexual act, murder, and sexual assault related to the attack and murder. On July 17, 2013, Renz entered a plea of guilty in New York State court to first-degree murder and predatory sexual assault against a child, with an agreed-upon sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Renz and the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office agreed that Renz could withdraw his state guilty plea if the federal government sought the death penalty against him.

Updated January 29, 2015