Texas’ ‘Railroad Killer’ awaits execution Tuesday
HUNTSVILLE, Texas – The Railroad Killer, a drifter who authorities say killed at least 15 people as he made his way around the country by freight train, awaited execution Tuesday.Angel Maturino Resendiz, 46, was set to die by injection for raping and murdering a physician during the 1998-99 killing spree that spread terror across the Southwest and put him on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.The slaying of Dr. Claudia Benton, 39, was among eight killings in Texas linked to Resendiz. Two more were tied to him in both Illinois and Florida, along with one each in Kentucky, California and Georgia.Benton was stabbed with a kitchen knife, bludgeoned with a 2-foot bronze statue and raped in 1998 in her Houston home, just down the street from a railroad track.Authorities realized they were pursuing a serial killer when DNA evidence tied Resendiz to Benton’s murder and the killings of a church pastor and his wife who were beaten with a sledgehammer as they slept in their house near tracks outside Houston.A month later, the Mexican drifter walked across the international bridge at El Paso from Mexico and surrendered to police as part of a deal arranged by his sister.Benton’s husband, George, planned to witness Resendiz’s execution “to make the statement that people have to understand what evil really is.””I tried to figure this guy out – the type of killer who would choose people at random, lie in wait and watch their houses until it’s dark and then kill them with something of convenience from their own house,” Benton said. “It’s beyond my comprehension. I can’t really consider the depths of that human behavior.”The execution would be the 13th of the year in the nation’s most active death penalty state.Several appeals were pending in the federal courts. Resendiz’s lawyer argued that Resendiz could not be executed because he did not believe he could die. The condemned man had described himself to psychiatrists as half-man and half-angel.Mexico’s consul general in Houston filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court questioning Resendiz’s competency and challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection.Several people from the Mexican consul’s Houston office were in Huntsville on Tuesday afternoon but did not see Resendiz.”We do look after the rights of Mexican nationals,” Consul General Carlos Gonzalez said. “We watch to make sure the law is applied fairly to a Mexican national.”In an interview shortly after arriving on death row in 2000, Resendiz said he recalled the attacks as if were watching something through a tunnel. “Everything you see is in a distance,” he said. “Everything is slow and silent.”Vail, Colorado
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