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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK ______________________________________________________________________________
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
V. CASE NO. 13-CR-143 (NAM)
DAVID J. RENZ, Defendant. ______________________________________________________________________________
January 21, 2014
LISA A. PEEBLES Federal Public Defender
James Greenwald Randi J. Bianco Assistant Federal Public Defender Bar Roll No. 507514 Clinton Exchange, 3rd Floor 4 Clinton Street Syracuse, New York 13202 (315) 701-0080
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PRELIMINARY STATEMENT On October 4, 2013, David Renz entered a guilty plea to a six count indictment charging
him with one count of receipt of child pornography under 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(2)(A) and five counts of possession of child pornography under 18 U.S.C. ' 2252(A) (a)(5)(B). He is scheduled for sentencing on these charges on February 10, 2014. Mr. Renz is currently in primary New York State custody having pled guilty to Murder in the First Degree and Predatory Sexual Assault of a Minor on July 17, 2013. He is currently scheduled for sentencing in Onondaga County Court on March 14, 2014 and he is prepared to receive a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The United States Probation Department prepared a Presentence Report (hereinafter “PSR”) in anticipation of Mr. Renz’s sentencing. The PSR sets forth a total advisory offense level of 38 and Criminal History Category of I, resulting in an advisory imprisonment range of 235 to 293 months. Defense counsel does not object to the advisory guideline computation or the criminal history category. II. MR. RENZ’S 18 U.S.C. ' 3553(a) FACTORS 1. The History and Characteristics of the Defendant A. David Renz was born with a physical deformity and handicap David Renz’s life has been plagued by physical pain and deformities that are unimaginable to the average person. His pain began immediately, as he was born with a congenital fusion of the mandible 1 to the base of the skull. He has a complete absence of most of the bony mandibular
The mandible, lower jaw or jawbone is a bone forming the skull with the cranium. See Wikipedia Foundation, Inc., Mandible, (Sep. 18, 2013) <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandible>.
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structures and has no condyle 2 or temporomandibular joint (TMJ). 3 He also had a severe deficiency of soft tissue on both sides of his face. As a new-born he had serious breathing and feeding problems that necessitated the insertion of tracheotomy and feeding tubes. The severities of his feeding problems were readily apparent as David was below the fifth percentile for height and weight in his first year of life. Genetic testing at the University of California Medical Center in San Diego revealed that David’s condition was the result of a genetically transmitted syndrome, which had yet to be identified. His grandfather was warned against having children because of what was then thought to be “Treacher-Collins syndrome.” 4 According to the family, David’s grandmother got pregnant at least twice and his grandfather forced her to abort each time. When his grandmother became pregnant with David’s father, she hid the pregnancy from her husband. Unfortunately, David’s father was born with deformities similar to his, though much less severe. When David’s father had children, all three (David’s older half-sister, David and his younger brother) were born with the same syndrome. A “dysmorphology evaluation” 5 conducted on David on December 4, 1984 at the University of California, San Diego, revealed that he had a fifty percent (50%) risk of passing the condition on to his offspring.
A condyle is the round prominence at the end of a bone, most often part of a joint - an articulation with another bone. See Wikipedia Foundation, Inc., Condyle (anatomy), (Mar. 13, 2013) <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condyle>. 3 The TMJ is the joint of the jaw. See Wikipedia Foundation, Inc., Temporomandibular joint, (Jan. 7, 2014) < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temporomandibular_joint>. 4 Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS), or mandibulofacial dysostosis, is a rare autosomal dominant congenital disorder characterized by craniofacial deformities, such as absent cheekbones. Treacher Collins syndrome is found in about 1 in 50,000 births. See Wikipedia Foundation, Inc., Treacher Collins syndrome, (Jan 9, 2014) <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treacher_Collins_syndrome>. 5 “Dysmorphology” is the branch of clinical genetics concerned with the study of structural defects, especially congenital malformations. Dysmorphology, in The American Heritage Medical Dictionary, (Editors of the American Heritage Medical Dictionary, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2007) (2007).
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As a result of this inherited syndrome, David had to undergo numerous craniofacial surgeries beginning when he was three days old and continuing until he was 25 years old. A non-exhaustive list of David’s surgeries are listed on pages 17 and 18 of the PSR. David suffered from pain from his jaw for many years. In order to widen his jaw, he was required to do painful physical therapy exercises for his jaw 2-3 times per week. David’s mother performed the physical therapy until he was old enough to do it himself. She describes the pain David suffered as “excruciating.” There were other physical issues that manifested themselves throughout the years as a result of David’s condition. He had significant bilateral hearing loss since the age of two that still requires him to wear hearing aids. David went through speech therapy for years so he could be understood. He had a tracheotomy tube from infancy until the age of 17 when he was a senior in high school. He has had severe airway compromise, which resulted in obstructive sleep apnea. In a 60-hour nocturnal polysomnography6 study at St. Joseph’s Hospital conducted in August of 1999, he had 404 apneas and hypopneas noted. After many of the surgeries, David was often required to sleep upright in a recliner. As a result, he was always exhausted from a lack of sleep and pain. In addition to the physical pain, David’s face has always been deformed. He continues to be partially paralyzed on one side of his face. In an effort to rebuild his jaw, he had to wear large unsightly metal appliances, which were screwed into the outside of his face, as the muscles were not in the correct location nor attached correctly. This caused David to standout from others for
Polysomnography (PSG) is a type of sleep study, is a multi-parametric test used in the study of sleep and as a diagnostic tool in sleep medicine. See Wikipedia Foundation, Inc., Polysomnography, (Jan. 7, 2014) <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polysomnography>.
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his entire life and constantly drew negative attention, especially during his formative years. See Compilation of David Renz Photographs [hereinafter Exhibit A]. While Dave was growing up, his facial deformity caused people to stare at him all the time. This was a regular part of his life. Kathy Renz, David’s mother, tearfully described one incident that was particularly cruel. Dave was approximately 6 or 7 years old and they were having a meal at Wendy’s. Dave had problems chewing food and would “suck it in,” making noises. A man and his two children approached the table where Kathy and David were sitting and told Kathy “don’t bring that kid out in public if he can’t eat like a human being.” Kathy tried to explain that David was disabled. However, the man continued to loudly rant on about how David should not be brought out in public places. As a result of all of his surgeries and hundreds of medical appointments, David spent many months of his life in hospitals. He told a friend, who will be referenced as “A.J.,” 7 that he spent more time in the hospital than anywhere else. He missed a considerable amount of school due to his surgeries and recuperating from those surgeries. At one point, David and his mother had to drive to New York City two times per week for medical appointments. These surgeries and recuperation periods even required him to take semesters off from college. B. David has endured bullying and social isolation throughout his life The old adage that “you can’t judge a book by its cover” has never wrung true for David since people have always judged him by his appearance. In addition to the tremendous physical pain he suffered from the numerous surgical procedures, he has suffered equally emotionally. David was often the target of bullies at school and was shunned by many of the other students. Kathy Renz remembers various incidents, but one that particularly stands out is when David was in
“A.J.” and the other friends interviewed by defense counsel are referenced by their initials.
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elementary school and came home with a bruise on his head. Kathy asked David what happened to his head and he told his mother something that broke her heart. He said that when he was riding home on the school bus, some of the children began to ridicule him and then banged his head against the school bus window, which caused the bruise on his head. Others friends recall equally disturbing incidents with David on the school bus. David would enter the school bus and search for a seat. The girls sitting alone in their seats would see him and then move to the outside of the seat so there would be no room for him. See Douglass Dowty and Marnie Eisenstadt, David Renz Was the Kid with the Deformed Face before Being Accused of Horrifying Crime, Syracuse.com, (March 24, 2013) [hereinafter Exhibit B]. Socializing in school was not easy for David. He was always the last one to be picked for anything at school, whether that be for gym teams or for a partner for a school assignment. Id. A friend of the family, “MK,” describes how people would “sneer at David” whenever he walked into a room with strangers. At one point, David could only talk by holding his finger over his tracheotomy tube. When his voice came out it sounded strange and this sometimes scared other children away. “MK” states that because David had “no jaw hinge, he would have to slurp his food,” causing people to stare and gawk at him. She said she witnessed strangers staring at David every time they were out in public. Occasionally, she would see him cry but he never spoke about how he felt. C. David has demonstrated a desire to succeed notwithstanding his physical condition. i. David’s academic success Notwithstanding David’s physical condition, he was a good student and excelled academically. He won a number of academic awards in grade school, middle school and high
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school. Despite his physical condition, David also participated in track and even ran with a tracheotomy tube inserted in his throat. Grade School David attended Herman Street Elementary from kindergarten through second grade. Thereafter, he attended Kinne Street Elementary through sixth grade. During his years in elementary school, David received a number of awards: 1995 President’s Award for Educational Excellence, signed by President Bill Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Education Dick Riley Award certifying that David Renz maintained an average of 90 or over during the past school year and was therefore entitled to be placed on the High Honor Roll. Signed by Teacher and Principal. Certificate of Achievement in recognition of merit for scholastic achievement during the past school year in Language Arts Enrichment. Signed by Teacher and Principal. Certificate of Achievement in recognition of merit for scholastic achievement during the past school year in Mathematics. Signed by Teacher and Principal. Certificate of Achievement in recognition of merit for scholastic achievement during the past school year in Reading. Signed by Teacher and Principal. Certificate of Achievement in recognition of merit for scholastic achievement during the past school year in Science/Health. Signed by Teacher and Principal. Certificate of Achievement in recognition of merit for scholastic achievement during the past school year in Language Arts. Signed by Teacher and Principal. Certificate of Achievement in recognition of merit for scholastic achievement during the past school year in Social Studies. Signed by Teacher and Principal.
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Certificate of Achievement in recognition of merit for scholastic achievement during the past school year in Physical Education. Signed by Teacher and Principal.
Middle School David attended Pine Grove Junior High School from seventh to ninth grade and received awards for academics as well as his performance on the track team: 1995 Awarded best finisher “whose speed and endurance make him a stellar performer in the long run.” Signed by his coach. Certificate for outstanding work and selection for membership to the Pine Grove Honors Club. Signed by Principal Edgar Ames. Awarded best second year effort and most improved ride arrivals in Modified Cross Country. Signed by his coaches. National Geography Olympiad award by Principal Edgar Ames, School Advisor Don Thompson and the Executive Director, NGCE. Certificate for outstanding work and selection for membership to the Pine Grove Honors Club. Signed by Principal Edgar Ames. National Geography Olympiad Top 10 Winner award presented by Principal Edgar Ames, School Advisor Don Thompson and the Executive Director, NGCE. Certificate for outstanding work and selection for membership to the Pine Grove Honors Club. Signed by Principal Edgar Ames.
High School David attended and graduated with a Regents Diploma from East Syracuse Minoa High School. He was honored in Who’s Who of American High School Students. Despite his physical problems, David was Captain of the school’s indoor/outdoor track team. He was in the Math League, Science Olympiad, Marching Band as well as the Jazz Band and performed a drum solo in the Senior Showcase. He also received a number of awards in high school:
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President’s Award for Educational Excellence. Signed by President George W. Bush, U.S. Secretary of Education Roderick Paige, and the Principal. Senior Dedication Award for the 2000-2001 Season. Third Year Varsity Award, for three years participation in Boys Indoor Track. Signed by Director of Athletics, Principal, and his Coach. National Science Olympiad Award of Excellence for participation in the Regional Science Olympiad Tournament. Signed by Teacher, Regional Director and National Co-Directors: Dr. Gerard J. Putz and John C. Cairns. Science Olympiad Award of Excellence for participation in the State Science Olympiad Tournament. Signed by Teacher, State Director, and Co-Directors: Dr. Gerard J. Putz and John C. Cairns. Achievement Award; Special Award for Science Olympiad. Signed by Principal. Nomination letter for the Who's Who Among American High School Students list. Certificate of Merit by the NY State Assembly.
In December 2011, David graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Oswego in Computer Sciences. He was a member of the Honor Societies Tau Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi. ii. David has maintained continuous gainful employment Until his arrest on the federal charges, David has always been gainfully employed. His employment continued throughout the time he was a student and after he graduated from college. He worked for Wegman’s Food Markets from January 2004 through January 2013. He began as a cashier and was promoted to front end coordinator in 2009. He was then promoted to pricing
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coordinator in 2012 and promoted again to team leader in 2013. David has continuously received high praise from both management and customers. See David Renz Wegmans Employment Records [hereinafter Exhibit C]. One of David’s managers “D.R.” described him as a hard worker, dependable and always willing to do whatever needed to be done. Another of David’s first line supervisor at Wegman’s “B.B.” stated: I never had any problem with David or his work ethic. I wish I had more David Renz’s working for me. David got along with everyone and no one ever had any problems with him. We were all shocked when we learned about what happened and everyone had the same reaction, he was the last person anyone would have thought would do anything like that. Even though David was an outstanding employee, once he was arrested on the federal child pornography charges on January 9, 2013, Wegman’s fired him. During the time he was employed with Wegman’s but was on temporary leave at school, David was employed as a package handler for the FedEx Corporation from September 2005 through May of 2006. He worked as a janitor and subcontractor for the Home Depot Corporation in 2003. He also worked while attending college at the University of Illinois in Dining Services. David began in 2002 as a food service worker. He was promoted in 2004 to shift coordinator and promoted again in 2005 as a late night coordinator. iii. David has been a loving son David’s mother, Kathy, describes him as a very kind and attentive son. She has a special bond with David because of all of the time they spent together during hospital stays and traveling to medical appointments. Kathy states that David’s father, John, while living in the family home, did not take much of an interest in him while he grew up. John was not present physically or emotionally for David for many years and was not present for many of his surgeries or medical
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appointments. However, in 1996, John’s behavior changed toward David. Thereafter, David and his father became very close as they both enjoyed playing music and working on computers. They played in the church’s band and participated in many of the church’s activities together. In 2001, David’s father died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 56. He was devastated. After his father’s death, David made it a point to help his mother as much as possible. Even after David moved out of his mother’s home, Kathy stated that he would drop everything and come over whenever she needed him. Although busy with work and school, David was never too busy to help his mother. He did things like mow the lawn, repair the home, do all the heavy lifting, and fix her computer. He even spent days reorganizing her basement. An interview with “M.D.” revealed that David “took on a lot of additional responsibilities” after his father died and he helped his mother with everything she needed. As much as David loved his mother, it was very difficult living in her home because she was a hoarder. The house was cluttered with belongings everywhere. There came a point when no one could eat on the dining room table because of “all the stuff” that was “piled on it.” The hoarding got worse after David’s father passed away. This caused David much distress because his mother never allowed him to invite friends over to their home. He did not have many friends when he was young, but the few friends he had, he did not see outside of school or church. When David moved to his own apartment with K.D., he was happy and lived a more normal life. He made friends and was able to invite people to his apartment. Things were going much better for him. iv. David has been a loyal and generous friend As David got older, he developed interests outside of work and school. He played on paintball teams and volleyball teams. He met many people through these activities and they 11
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seemed to accept him. “B.M.” played paintball with David and he states that he was always polite and friendly and never saw David lose his temper. David was “always willing to help out” with things for the team. In 2012, David volunteered managing the paintball team, which consisted of scheduling and running the practices, scheduling the games and tournaments and preparing the rosters. According to David’s friend “K.D.,” he was always willing to go out of his way for a friend. He was willing to listen to people’s problems, spend time with them during difficult times when others were nowhere to be found and even gave people rides that had been drinking alcohol and needed a way home. Dave would leave wherever he was to make sure the person got home safely no matter what time they called. According to “A.W,” “David was a very kind person and never said a bad word about anybody.” One friend named “M.T.” talked about the first time she met David. She was very down and depressed and David learned it was her birthday so he brought her a birthday cake with candles. David states that he did this because he just wanted to “cheer her up” as she didn’t have a party or talk of receiving any presents. Every person interviewed expressed shock at David’s arrest for the murder and sexual assault charges. All of those interviewed said that David was always kind, helpful and considerate and that the actions which led to his arrest were “completely out of David’s character.” v. David donated his time to volunteer work Despite David’s work and school schedule, he and his family were very involved in volunteering for the church. Both his mother and father had leadership positions at Believer’s Chapel and the family spent a lot of time there. David played drums for the church’s music group, played drums at the church services and the church’s youth services, and filled in when other drummers cancelled. David volunteered at the church three to five times per week. As “M.D.,” 12
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one of the worship leaders at the church stated, David was always polite and respectful and “always willing to help.” In addition to David’s volunteer work for the church, Kathy Renz states that for a number of years she and David volunteered for Vera House and the Rescue Mission wrapping gifts at Christmas. David always liked to help others in whatever way he could. David also tried to inspire other people with the same physical condition he had. He wrote articles for the National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction (NFFR) in 2000 and 2003 in order to give others hope for the future. See David Renz, David Renz foes to College, National Foundation for Facial Reconstructions (Spring 2003); and David Renz, David’s Story, National Foundation for Facial Reconstructions, p. 3 (Spring 2000); [hereinafter Exhibit D]. III. CONCLUSION Mr. Renz readily admits to his wrongdoing and is prepared to accept his punishment. We ask that this Court sentence him within the Guidelines as outlined by the United States Probation Office. DATED: January 21, 2014 LISA A. PEEBLES Federal Public Defender
S/Randi J. Bianco, Esq. Assistant Federal Public Defender Bar Roll No. 507514 Clinton Exchange, 3rd Floor 4 Clinton Street Syracuse, New York 13202 (315) 701-0080
RJB/ cc: Lisa M. Fletcher, Esq., AUSA David B. Spogen, USPO David Renz 13