EL PASO, Texas (AP) – A sex offender was convicted of capital murder Wednesday in the slaying of a 5-year-old girl whose abduction from a Wal-Mart was captured on the store’s security camera.

Jurors deliberated for about 40 minutes before convicting David Renteria in the 2001 strangling death of Alexandra Flores.

Alexandra, the youngest of eight children, had wandered away from her mother while her family shopped for Christmas on Nov. 18, 2001. Grainy tape from a surveillance camera showed a man roaming the store, pushing an empty shopping cart for 40 minutes before starting to follow the girl.

Neither attorneys nor family members commented afterward. The judge has imposed a gag order on everyone connected to the proceedings, including family members who might testify in the punishment phase of the trial.

, which begins Thursday.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

In closing arguments, prosecutors said Renteria coldly calculated Alexandra’s abduction and murder, then tried to destroy the evidence by burning her body.

Defense attorney Scott Segall argued that police focused solely on Renteria based on the security video and then tailored evidence to fit that conclusion. He accused police of planting and destroying evidence.

“We’re going to try to kill this man based on lies,” he said during closing arguments.

Prosecutors’ evidence included a palm print matching Renteria’s found on a plastic bag put over Alexandra’s head and blood found in Renteria’s van that matched the girl’s DNA.

Renteria was convicted in 1994 of indecency with an 8-year-old child involving sexual contact. He spent up to 180 days in boot camp and got 10 years probation.

AP-ES-09-17-03 1923EDT



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