Accused Murder Suspect Cut Off Ankle Bracelet Before Attack, Beaten By Inmate In Jail

Probation officials are investigating how a man charged with possessing child pornography managed to cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet before carjacking a woman at a mall, fatally stabbing her and raping her 10-year-old-daughter, authorities said.

David J. Renz abducted the school librarian and her daughter as they left a gymnastics class Thursday night at a mall in the Syracuse suburb of Clay, state police said Friday.

Renz bound both victims, raped the girl and drove a short distance to a spot where the girl escaped and was found by a passing motorist, troopers said.

The girl was being treated at a hospital Friday. Her mother died from multiple stab wounds.

The 29 year old Renz had been charged in January with possession of child pornography and allowed to remain free under terms that included staying off the Internet and away from places including schools, parks and arcades.

Federal authorities said he cut his electronic monitoring device off his ankle shortly before Thursday’s attacks. Probation officials are investigating whether Renz was able to get around an alert that is supposed to go off if the ankle bracelet is removed, Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney John Duncan said.

Renz was arraigned Friday on murder, rape and kidnapping charges and was held without bail.

Hours later, he was booked and placed in a holding cell with other inmates at the Onondaga County Justice Center, and at some point a fight broke out that left Renz with a broken nose. 

Now officials are investigating why Renz was put in the jail's general population in the first place, Sheriff Kevin Walsh said Friday night.

"Under normal circumstances, he would not be put in with others," Walsh said.

Renz was arraigned in East Syracuse village court Friday morning and denied bail. He then had an appearance in federal court for a probation violation.

He appeared in federal court with tissues stuffed up each of his nostrils and a swollen face.

U.S. Magistrate Andrew Baxter ordered that Renz be held in protective custody while in jail because he "may have been assaulted while in custody."

Renz told deputies that the incident in the holding cell was a fight, Walsh said, but an investigation into the incident is under way.

It wasn't clear after deputies broke the fight up if the other men in the holding cell knew of the charges against Renz, a sheriff's office spokesman said.

A nurse treated Renz after the fight, the spokesman said, but no other injuries were reported from the incident and charges have yet to be filed against anyone involved.

Renz is now in segregation at the county jail, Walsh said. A deputy must watch him around the clock.

"We're dealing with a man who is innocent until proven guilty and, he's got to be protected," Walsh said.

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