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Review of David Renz case sparks call for federal investigation

A review of the David Renz case, released this week, has sparked calls for a federal investigation. The rape and murder suspect was on pre-trial release for federal child pornography charges when he slipped out of an electronic monitoring device that he was ordered to wear around his ankle.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- A review of the David Renz case, released this week, has sparked calls for a federal investigation.

The rape and murder suspect was on pre-trial release for federal child pornography charges when he slipped out of an electronic monitoring device that he was ordered to wear around his ankle.

Renz had been released from court on January 11, 2013. He's accused of killing Lori Bresnahan and sexually assaulting a 10-year old child after kidnapping them at Great Northern Mall in Clay on March 14, 2013.

Investigators believe Renz reassembled the device with duct tape and a screw so it would continue sending a normal signal to the probation office. It's unclear when he removed the bracelet, but a review of the probation office found 46 tamper alerts were triggered over the coarse of several weeks. But, Renz's device was never inspected.

"That should have happened the first alert. There is no excuse for that and I am disgusted,” said Syracuse resident Kayla Kalin.

Outrage has prompted Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli and others to call for a federal investigation.

"Whatever they find out what went wrong here, is going to benefit anybody, anywhere in this country. So, I think it is something that needs to be done,” Margnarelli said.

According to the review by the Office of Probation and Pretrial Services and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, judicial policy requires immediate notification of all tamper alerts and a daily review of activity.

But, with the vendor’s recommendation, the district probation office covering Syracuse didn't always get or respond to notifications lasting less than five minutes, "because it helped reduce the number of false alerts."

Probation staff never inspected Renz’s monitoring equipment during his only home inspection in late January and no other community field work was done, which is required at least monthly according to the report.

In response, Chief US Probation Officer Matthew Brown says: "The district is setting in motion several corrective actions and oversight policies to address the deficiencies."

Critics point out that similar problems were discovered in a review of the office three years ago.

"Just saying that certain things weren't done isn't enough. You have to go further. You have to investigate this so it doesn't happen again,” Magnarelli said.

“This crime was all the more horrific because proper procedure should have avoided it. We have been pressing the Administrative Office of the Courts for answers as to how this could have happened, even after an audit pointed to procedural flaws. Clearly, they need a top-to-bottom review, those responsible must be called on the carpet and better protocols must be instituted going forward,” said Meredith Kelly, spokesman for Senator Charles Schumer.

"Immediately after learning of the heinous crime, Rep. Maffei directed the Science Subcommittee on Oversight staff to investigate the issue immediately. They are currently investigating the matter. Rep. Maffei is also exploring holding a congressional hearing to investigate the issue further and get to the bottom of it," said Rep. Maffei spokesperson Marc Brumer.

Assemblyman Magnarelli said he has been approached by a number of constituents who have expressed anger after hearing the probation office didn't respond to several alerts from the monitoring device. He's hoping the response will push federal officials to push for more accountability.

"It is just unbelievable. There is almost nothing you can say to make anybody comfortable that they are being protected," said Syracuse business owner Tina Parker.
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