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.

01-27-2004, 05:39 AM
A child-watch program intended to foster cooperation among neighbors to keep tabs on children for their safety will be announced today by the mother of 5-year-old kidnap-murder victim Samantha Runnion.

01-27-2004, 06:49 PM
I'm curious as to what the "program" is. I lived in Maryland for several years. We played in the front yards, and went up and down the street from house to house. There were always parents looking out windows, and someone to make sure no one had wandered off. That was never the case anywhere in California. But maybe apartment complexes are different.

03-20-2004, 05:52 PM
DNA Hearing Postponed Until July In Samantha Runion Trial
Judge To Decide Whether To Allow DNA Evidence

POSTED: 3:38 pm PST March 19, 2004
UPDATED: 3:49 pm PST March 19, 2004

LOS ANGELES -- A hearing on whether to allow prosecutors to introduce DNA evidence at the upcoming trial of a man accused of killing a 5-year-old Stanton girl was put off Friday until July 12.


03-22-2004, 04:48 PM
DNA Hearing Postponed Until July In Samantha Runion Trial
Judge To Decide Whether To Allow DNA Evidence

POSTED: 3:38 pm PST March 19, 2004
UPDATED: 3:49 pm PST March 19, 2004

LOS ANGELES -- A hearing on whether to allow prosecutors to introduce DNA evidence at the upcoming trial of a man accused of killing a 5-year-old Stanton girl was put off Friday until July 12.


thanks for this!

07-20-2004, 11:03 AM
Does anyone know when her alleged killer will be going on trial??? Alejandro someone. She was murdered around the same time as Danielle Van Dam and that is over and done with. Just wondering.

07-20-2004, 11:32 AM
7/12 - Preliminary hearing for Alejandro Avila, for the July 2002 abduction and murder of 5-year-old Samantha
Runnion (a trial date might be scheduled)

from here...

I didn't hear anything about it, so it was probably delayed again.

Westerfields lawyer wanted a speedy trial. He was hoping to beat evidence in.
Fortunately, he didn't. Avila's lawyer is hoping something happens, people forget or whatever to try to get his client off.

I agree, he has no chance, and deserves no chance.

07-20-2004, 11:40 AM
In Memory Of Samantha Runnion


07-20-2004, 01:48 PM
What a beautiful little girl........ I never knew her horrific story..... my heart weeps for her family.......as for the lawyer wanting people to forget as time goes on...... NEVER! People's lives go on because they have to... but forget what this animal did to a little girl.......not for centuries to come! I hope he gets strung up and castrated....if there were stiffer penalties for rapists, it might help deter even one tragedy......sigh! God Bless you Samantha and your family........ I hope you are up in heaven playing, drawing and writing stories with the rest of the kids in God's playground, including Conner.

PS..sorry to get emotional here...the picture of Samantha in her bed just reminded me so much of my little girl, it broke my heart...and made me thankful to be able to tuck her in at night. Sigh!

07-20-2004, 02:26 PM
Samantha reminded me so much of my own little girl, who will soon be 6...my daughter looks very much like her, with straight hair. Her story just broke my heart. May Alejandro Avila rot in hell. Thank you for the update, Doyle!

08-18-2004, 01:28 AM

this makes me sick, reading that this monster had vaginal and anal contact(penetration?) of a 5 year old...

Why has this trial been delayed, it's been over two years now??

08-19-2004, 10:38 PM
I remember this case as well. I have a daughter a year younger and this is about 25 miles from where we live. It broke my heart. What makes it worse is that another jury let this A$$ go because they did not believe the two girls he allegedly molested. I hope he dies a slow, painful, horrific death. He and Richard Allen Davis have my votes for the biggest wastes of human life to walk this planet. :furious:

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."


09-11-2005, 12:58 PM
Archived Forum for Reading

Please post updates on Books , Appeals etc on this thread.

12-29-2005, 05:56 PM
A friend of mine who is a nationally know crime advocate (Keona Wright) told me about Samantha Runnion and it's an extremely heart breaking story. She designed a web site for Samantha and a few graphics. She talks about Samantha a lot, seems to me that Samantha is very close to her heart. Her web site for Samantha is www.geocities.com/mantharunnion (http://www.geocities.com/mantharunnion) She also devoted a site "Slain Angels" in Samantha's name. See that site at www.geocities.com/slainangels (http://www.geocities.com/slainangels)

12-29-2005, 06:01 PM
Samantha Bree Runnion was born in Massachusettes on July 26, 1996. Her parents, Erin Runnion and Derek Jackson knew she was something special since day one. Samantha's parent eventually split up and Samantha and her mother moved to south California.

Samantha was playing a board game with her 5-year-old friend, when a man drove up in a light green Honda. The two children were sitting on a short wall about 150 feet from Samantha's home. The man got out of his car next to the girls and asked them for help finding his dog. Samantha and the man spoke to each other for a minute before he grabbed her and drove off in his car. She was kicking and screaming "Tell my grandma" to her friend.

I know she thought somebody would save her," Erin Runnion said, choking back tears.


12-29-2005, 06:03 PM
My friend designed this collage for Samantha.

12-29-2005, 06:10 PM
Why isn't the picture showing? Can anybody see the collage?

12-29-2005, 09:56 PM
Why isn't the picture showing? Can anybody see the collage?
I do! It's touching.

12-29-2005, 10:15 PM
Bless that girl's sweet, sweet heart. It's such a bizarre thing, like Elizabeth Smart, to be grabbed right off her front porch by a devil. The only silver lining here is that her murderer was stopped from doing this again, because of the smart brave friend Samantha had who was able to give key evidence to apprehend him.

Bless that little angel's heart. Through her death, she probably saved many girls from becoming victims.

12-29-2005, 10:22 PM
I see it, its a very nice website..

12-30-2005, 05:14 AM
I will never forget Samantha. I see the videos of that beautiful little angel and it breaks my heart everytime. I can't even think about how she died because it is just to hard. Such a little sweetheart. My heart breaks for her mother and I'm so glad that she got to say everything that she wanted to at sentencing. Not that it affected the killer but it feels good just to look the killer in the eyes and speak your mind.

Little Samantha did everything that her mom had told her to do when it comes to strangers. She just wasn't fast enough. I hope the jury that let that killer off for molesting those two little girls have trouble sleeping every night for the rest of their lives. If they had done the right thing and had believed those little girls Samantha would be alive today.

Samantha will live in my heart just like Jessica Lunsford, Carly, and others will.

01-04-2006, 09:36 PM
My friend's picture is on the collage--I really don't know why. I asked her why she put her picture there but she gave no real answer.

If you can't see the photos, please go into your private messages and click "edit options" which is on the left hand side of the screen. Scroll down a bit and check the box for "show images".

01-12-2006, 07:19 PM
I have a site titled 'Remember Samantha Runnion' in honor of little Samantha. It's for child victims of heinous crimes. The link is www.geocities.com/slainangels (http://www.geocities.com/slainangels)

I want to give it a domain name. Please tell me which link you think is best for the site..Also if you have any URL suggestions please post them!

1) www.RememberSamantha.com (http://www.remembersamantha.com/)
2) www.DearSamantha.com (http://www.dearsamantha.com/)
3) www.BabySamantha.com (http://www.babysamantha.com/)
4) www.AngelSamantha.com (http://www.angelsamantha.com/)
5) www.SamanthaForever.com (http://www.samanthaforever.com/)
6) www.TributeToSamantha.com (http://www.tributetosamantha.com/)
7) www.SamanthaHeaven.com (http://www.samanthaheaven.com/)
8) www.LoveSamantha.com (http://www.lovesamantha.com/)

01-13-2006, 01:36 AM
My friend's picture is on the collage--I really don't know why. I asked her why she put her picture there but she gave no real answer.

It is a very beautiful site.
Was your friend ever abused? Could that be the reason she included her pic and why she didn't answer you about why she did?

07-26-2006, 04:14 PM
Today would of been Samantha Runnion's 10th Birthday. God Bless you my guardian angel.

07-26-2006, 04:32 PM
She was such a beautiful child. A face that lights up a room. Rest in peace angel.

07-26-2006, 04:38 PM
Happy Birthday sweet angel.

Jeana (DP)
07-26-2006, 04:55 PM
Happy Birthday darlin. . . . . Prayers to her family.

07-26-2006, 05:02 PM
I stopped by her tree to place some flowers and a birthday balloon.

07-26-2006, 06:29 PM
Happy Birthday sweetheart, you will be in my heart always.

02-05-2008, 02:07 PM
I met Erin Runnion on Sunday and spent some time talking with her. She really is a strong, vibrant woman and I admire her even more now! I was at a Superbowl Charity Event at Donald Trump's Golf Course and the Joyful Child Foundation was one of the charities that benefited from the event proceeds. I talked with her and her husband for quite a while as they were waiting to head to LAX for a flight to DC to meet with Mark Lunsford and do some advocacy there.

I mentioned the Websleuth family and she knew who we were! I gave her a few hugs and let her know that so many people love Samantha and were behind her! Please take a moment and visit her website and make a contribution or pass the info along to someone who may be interested!


Samantha is one of those children that completely touched my heart and I feel honored to have met her mom, Erin.