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Execution date set for man known as 'railroad killer'

Friday, January 06, 2006

Condemned serial killer Angel Maturino Resendiz, the Mexican drifter dubbed the "Railroad Killer," was scheduled Friday to be executed on May 10 for raping and killing a Houston doctor.

Maturino Resendiz's lawyer, Jack Zimmermann, objected to the setting of the execution date while an appeal before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is pending, but prosecutor Roe Wilson argued that the appeals process could continue even with an execution date set.

"It is time. We need to carry out the sentence and justice needs to be served," Wilson said.

Maturino Resendiz got the name the "Railroad Killer" because he was linked to 14 slayings in Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Illinois near the rail lines he rode nationwide. He has claimed to have committed even more.

Three people who attended the hearing said they came from Mexico to represent the killer's family but would not identify themselves. Thomas Konvicka, whose mother, Josephine, was killed in June 1999 in Fayette County, also attended the brief hearing before state District Judge Bill Harmon.

Maturino Resendiz, wearing dark-rimmed glasses with his gray beard and hair, answered no when Harmon asked if he had anything to say.

Maturino Resendiz was condemned for the 1998 murder of Dr. Claudia Benton, 39, who was raped, stabbed and beaten in her home in West University Place, a wealthy enclave within Houston.

At his Houston trial in May 2000, defense lawyers argued he was innocent by reason of insanity. Prosecutors said he had personality defects but was sane.

His spree swept fear across Texas and the nation during the spring and early summer of 1999. Between May 2 and June 15 of that year, authorities said he killed four people in Texas and two more in rural Illinois.

The Border Patrol had picked him up for illegal entry that June 2 near El Paso, but he was taken to Mexico and released. Immigration officials said they were unaware the man -- who used numerous aliases -- was on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List as Rafael Resendez-Ramirez.

He committed four slayings after being released. Six weeks later, he crossed an international bridge into El Paso and surrendered to a Texas Ranger.

During his trial, the rail-riding drifter asked for the death penalty. After his conviction, he pledged to drop all his appeals to hasten his execution. He eventually changed his mind and filed appeals.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in March 2004 rejected his appeal. The court had previously affirmed his 2000 conviction and death sentence.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

(Copyright ©2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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