View Full Version : GUILTY CA - Alejandro Avila on trial for the murder of Samantha Runnion

08-13-2003, 08:58 PM

08-26-2003, 11:10 AM
Judge orders sealed documents released in Samantha Runnion case

A judge on Monday ordered the release of a sealed defense motion believed to spell out the prosecution's evidence against the man accused of kidnapping and killing 5-year-old Samantha Runnion.

Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg ordered the documents released by Friday after Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas challenged the bid to keep the motion under seal.

The release of the sealed motion would be the first time any court documents have been made public since the arrest of Alejandro Avila. Most information surrounding the investigation has been withheld from the public since Samantha's body was found.


08-29-2003, 08:12 PM
Unsealed documents detail Samantha Runnion murder case

09-28-2003, 05:33 PM
I'll bet his attorney is scrambling like mad to try and insure that his 'prior bad acts", like the abduction of that other 9-year old, are not included in the trial. Though it might be hard pressed to find someone on the jury who hadn't already heard about it when poor Samantha was found.

This :loser: needs to reside next door to Westerfield...

When is the trial? Shouldn't it be soon?

10-17-2003, 11:01 AM
Looking for info on when the trial was going to start, I came across a couple of these sites:

Click Here (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-kidnap-sg.storygallery)

Click Here (http://thejoyfulchild.org/)

Click Here (http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/news/082503_nw_runnion_case.html)

Unfortunately, there is no information on when the trial is supposed to start.

10-17-2003, 11:27 AM
01/12/2004 is scheduled trial date.

this site has a lot of upcoming trial dates...

10-17-2003, 11:31 AM
Thanks Doyle!

10-17-2003, 07:30 PM
More delays in the Samantha Runnion Case


SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Lawyers for a man accused of killing 5-year-old Samantha Runnion told a judge Friday they expect to challenge the admissibility of the prosecution's scientific evidence, which could delay the Jan. 12 trial date.

But Deputy Public Defender Denise Gragg also said she does not expect to be ready to bring her challenge until at least the first of the year.

Gragg said some of the testing in the case has not been done in California before. Outside the courtroom, lawyers declined to comment on the testing.

Alejandro Avila, 28, is charged with kidnapping, sexually assaulting and asphyxiating the Stanton girl kidnapped from her home July 15, 2002. Her body was found the next day off Ortega (74) Highway.

The Lake Elsinore man was arrested July 19.

Gragg said she is still awaiting test results, and that other information must be gathered after that.

But District Attorney Anthony Rackauckas told Superior Court Judge William Froeberg the case should remain on track.

"I would not want to have these issues cause a delay in the trial," Rackauckas said. "If we are in a position of waiting for all this science to be finalized, it could be years and years."

"If there is evidence that is not ready because the procedures are taking too long, then I think we should proceed without it," Rackauckas said.

Orange County Superior Court Judge William Froeberg set a hearing for Nov. 21 to see where the test results stand.

Rackauckas said prosecutors are ready to proceed.

"Take a case like this, where a lot of evidence is collected," Rackauckas said outside the courtroom. "Frankly, you can test it forever. Everytime we do a test, the defense wants to do additional validation."

Neither he nor Deputy District Attorney David Brent would elaborate on the testing. "We don't want to be specific on what kind of evidence we're talking about," he said.

Prosecutors also filed a document that lays out the basis for which they will seek the death penalty if Avila is convicted.

It will include "all the facts and circumstances surrounding the crimes of which the defendant was convicted in the present procedure ... (and) such facts and circumstances including victim impact testimony from the parents, relatives and friends of Samantha Runnion."

Also, according to the document, "the following prior incident or attempted incident of violence by the defendant: the 1999 sexual assault child molesting of Cara B... in Riverside County."

Avila had been charged with molesting two 9-year-old girls, including a former girlfriend's daughter who lived in the same complex as Samantha. A Riverside jury acquitted Avila in 2001.

10-17-2003, 08:50 PM
I wonder how the jurors feel who set him free after the first trial.

Also the two little girls he molested, they must have felt so frustrated when he was aquitted. Like no one beleived them and the system failed :mad:


10-18-2003, 12:36 PM

I saw one of the jurors on some show (it might have been Larry King), they said they felt bad about what happened to Samantha, but they felt they made the right decision in aquitting him because the evidence wasn't there :dontknow: . That's the one thing I can't stand. Even if you know a person is guilty, you cannot convict them if the prosecution does not prove there case. It really is a very sad situation.

10-20-2003, 06:10 AM
Defense to challenge scientific evidence in Samantha Runnion case

11-11-2003, 09:23 PM
This is a death penalty case right?


12-16-2003, 05:22 PM
I haven't heard anything more about it except this:

Although Froeberg ordered much of the material surrounding the discovery of Samantha's body removed from the documents, the affidavits confirmed initial reports that body was found in a posed position on her back.

"She appeared to be in a posed position as if displayed by the suspect," sheriff's investigator Andre Spencer in a statement of probable cause.


12-16-2003, 05:25 PM

Samatha is a beautiful angel

12-16-2003, 05:27 PM
Samantha's mother, her name is Erin I believe, was so impressive on the LKL Show, shortly after Samantha's death. Also, the work she's done to promote child welfare is awesome. Quite a lady, IMO.

Fleur Delacour
12-16-2003, 07:34 PM
Ive been waiting for this F*ker to go to trial... the day he gets the DP is a day of celebration.

12-19-2003, 10:20 PM
I just read on another board that the defense got the trial delay they had requested, has anyone heard anything about this?
I live in Orange Co and didn't see anything about it in today's Orange Co Register, but I could have missed it.
Thanks in advance for any information.

12-19-2003, 10:45 PM
LOS ANGELES -- A judge Friday set an April 2004 court date for the man accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing 5-year-old Samantha Runnion.

Trial for Alejandro Avila, 28, of Lake Elsinore, Calif., was scheduled to begin next month.

His attorneys sought an eight-month delay to prepare for hearings on the admissibility of DNA evidence, but the judge in the case called that request "ludicrous."

Avila is charged with murder and special circumstance allegations that could bring the death penalty if he is convicted of killing Runnion, who was abducted on July 15, 2002, from outside the Stanton apartment complex where she lived

Full article at this link ;) Welcome to the forum


12-19-2003, 11:01 PM
Thanks for the information Casshew.
As bad as having another delay is, the Judge at least didn't prolong it as long as they wanted. That's something I guess?????
I wish the paper would stop calling it an Apt. complex, I know it's not a big deal but it's wrong. It's a Condo with a centeral play area, that has a winding alley type road that goes around the garage area of the the homes.

12-20-2003, 01:45 AM
Thanx for the heads up on the condo vs Apt.. I had not heard that before.

Man o man I remember that day I heard Samantha was missing and my blood went cold. Mother's worst nightmare, I have a 10 year old daughter I worry about every day... and probably will keep doing for the rest of my life.'

April will come soon enough... give them the time they need to prepare their case so there will be NO chance of appeal.

Nice talking with you,


12-20-2003, 07:26 PM
Originally posted by Zeff
You betcha it is a death penalty case !!! This case is local to me, so it really has my attention....

BTW..... the prosecutor in this case has a perfect record. Everytime he has gone after the death penalty, he has gotten it.

It's local to me as well. I had been in e-mail contact with Erin, Samantha's mom, and have done some volunteer work for her foundation, The Joyful Child.

07-24-2005, 04:27 PM
Finally! This case has made me lose so much sleep. I saw this on TV when Samantha's mother addressed the killer and absolutely sobbed through the entire thing. How heartwrenching! Here's the article:

Alejandro Avila was sentenced to death Friday for the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion, moments after her mother unleashed three years of pent-up fury.

"You don't deserve a place in my family's history," Erin Runnion said, berating Avila through her tears.
I want you to disappear into the abyss of a lifetime in prison where no one will remember you, no one will pray for you and no one will care when you die."

Orange County Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg told the courtroom that with his crimes, Avila, 30, "has forfeited his right to live."