Charges that could bring the death penalty have now been filed against Alejandro Avila, the southern California man who was arrested in the slaying of five-year-old Samantha Runnion.
The charges come nearly a week after the girl was taken, kicking and screaming, from outside her apartment.
Her nude body was found a day later. Investigators said she had been sexually assaulted and strangled.
Avila was charged Monday with murder, kidnapping and two counts of forcible lewd acts on a child.
Prosecutors could seek the death penalty under special circumstances that are included with the charges.
Avila was arraigned Monday afternoon.
Adelina Avila said when she heard about what happened to five-year-old Samantha Runnion, she told her son that whoever did it should be burned alive -- and made to suffer.
Adelina Avila said before her son was arrested, she had talked with him about the brutality of the girl's killing.
She told ABC's “Good Morning America” that she and her son were watching TV reports about the case -- and that she told him whoever did it should be tied up and burned. She said her son asked, “What about the electric chair?” She answered, “No because he's not going to suffer that much.”
Avila said if her son is convicted, she could forgive him, “but it would be hard.”
The Orange County district attorney said he wants to meet with the victim's family and defense lawyers before making a decision on whether to seek the death penalty.
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