Clipped From The Californian

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 - 9-year-old 9-year-old 9-year-old 9-year-old...
9-year-old 9-year-old 9-year-old 9-year-old 9-year-old testifies about her friend's kidnapping Man in a car took Samantha Runnior i in 2002, girl says By BEN FOX The Associated Press SANTA ANA A 9-year-old 9-year-old 9-year-old 9-year-old 9-year-old girl told a jury Monday about the night when her friend Samantha Runnion was snatched from outside a condominium condominium in a crime that prompted a massive public outpouring of grief amid a series of violent crimes against children. Sarah Ahn, who clutched a stuffed animal and barely reached the level of the microphone microphone in the witness stand of an Orange County courtroom, said she and Samantha were playing outside when a man in a green car drove past them, circled back and asked them to help him find a lost puppy. He suddenly grabbed 5-year-old 5-year-old 5-year-old 5-year-old 5-year-old Samantha and threw her in his car. "She was screaming," Ahn said. "She was shaking, kicking, trying to get loose." The child's testimony came on the first day of the trial of Alejandro Avila, 30, who is charged with kidnapping, sexually sexually assaulting and murdering Samantha in July 2002. He faces the death penalty if convicted. convicted. Ahn testified that she couldn't couldn't remember all the details of the night of the abduction, and the defense focused on elements elements of her description that don't match Avila or his car. Ahn, whose description helped produce a composite sketch that closely resembles Avila, was among the first witnesses witnesses in a trial that is expected expected to last up to four months. Assistant District Attorney David Brent, speaking to jurors in opening statements, outlined outlined a prosecution case that includes cell phone and debit card records, scrapings of Avila's DNA from beneath Samantha's fingernails and genetic material from the 5-year-old 5-year-old 5-year-old 5-year-old 5-year-old found in two places inside the defendant's car. A sample of the girl's DNA discovered along the inside of the passenger door may have come from Samantha's tears, Brent said, though later he added that it was also consistent consistent with mucous. ill 'l r .ia .Li, mM 111 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Assistant District Attorney David Brent, left, addresses the media after giving the opening statement in the Samantha Runnion murder trial Monday in Santa Ana. Samantha Runnion Alejandro Avila upset about a recent breakup with his girlfriend, he said. "Please keep an open mind," Zalewski told jurors. Samantha's mother, Erin, sat in the second row of the courtroom courtroom with her husband, Kenneth Kenneth Donnelly. When Brent mentioned the DNA that may have come from the child's tears, she shielded her eyes with one hand and looked down. "None of this has been easy," she said in a statement "But it will be especially difficult to revisit all of the details as they are filtered through the parameters parameters of a courtroom." Defense attorney Philip Zalewski, meanwhile, suggested suggested to jurors that Samantha's DNA was planted inside Avila's car, claiming that an earlier search turned up no genetic material linking him to the abduction. Brent rejected the accusation and said the earlier search was only for fingerprints. "What I thought was frankly outlandish was the suggestion that the evidence was planted. ... It's very disturbing to me that they would even suggest that. It's not the way law enforcement works in this county," Brent told reporters outside the courtroom. In his opening statement, Zalewski said Avila's DNA found beneath Samantha's fin- fin- ! emails was improperly col-ected col-ected col-ected and that there were a number of inconsistencies in witness accounts. Avila, a factory worker at the time of his arrest, took a rambling rambling drive through parts of Orange and Riverside counties on the day of Samantha's disappearance disappearance because he was 1 REALTY Sharon Shaw-Flores Shaw-Flores Shaw-Flores RealtorOwner yu WUKLU I BROKER NETWORK PREMIER ASSOCIATES Real Estate Sales & Mortgage Loans 35 E. Romie Ln. Suite D Salinas. CA 93901 Bus: 754-4447 754-4447 754-4447 Cell: 206-3071 206-3071 206-3071 ioS Each office independently owned and operated OVER 70 ITEMS ON LUNCH & DINNER MENU ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET Soups, appetizers, salad bar, fresh fruits and main dishes with desserts and ice cream. 4 flOOFF on lunch and dinner buffet IU 0 Mon-Thurs. Mon-Thurs. Mon-Thurs. Expires 33105 Oriental and American Cuisine OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK Hours: Sun-Thur; Sun-Thur; Sun-Thur; 11am-10pm 11am-10pm 11am-10pm -Fri-Sat: -Fri-Sat: -Fri-Sat: -Fri-Sat: 11am-11pm 11am-11pm 11am-11pm S1000 N. Davis Rd. Salinas 771-9898 771-9898 771-9898 Fax 771-0298 771-0298 771-0298 GS

Clipped from The Californian22 Mar 2005, TuePage 3

The Californian (Salinas, California)22 Mar 2005, TuePage 3
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