Maturino Resendiz found guilty of capital murder in 'railway killer' case

May 18, 2000 - 2:45 p.m. EDT (1645 GMT)

HOUSTON (Reuters) -- A rail-hopping Mexican drifter who confessed to being a serial killer but pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity was convicted of capital murder Thursday for the December 1998 death of a Houston physician.

The jury of six men and six women deliberated 10 hours over two days before reaching its unanimous verdict and must next decide whether Angel Maturino Resendiz, 40, goes to prison for life or dies by injection.

Maturino Resendiz was convicted of beating and stabbing Claudia Benton to death in her Houston home, but his attorney admitted at the trial's opening that he murdered nine people in three states during a two-year U.S. killing spree. They argued he was too insane to be convicted.

A psychiatrist hired by the defense testified that Maturino Resendiz was a paranoid schizophrenic who believed he was an avenging angel directed by god to kill evil people. But prosecutors said he was simply a murderer feigning insanity to cover his crimes.

Maturino Resendiz became known as the "railway killer" because all his victims lived near railroad tracks. He is a Mexican native, but entered the United States illegally for years, hopping on trains to move around.