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Thursday, 18 May, 2000, 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
Serial killer guilty
Angel Maturino Resendiz and his lawyer during his trial
Angel Maturino Resendiz talks to his lawyer during the trial
A Mexican drifter has been found guilty of murder after a jury rejected his plea of insanity.

Angel Maturino Resendiz had confessed to murdering nine people in two years across the US as he criss-crossed the country by train.

He was convicted in Texas of the murder of one of the women, Claudia Benton.

The defendant... was totally out of touch with reality

Allen Tanner
Defence attorney
The jury must next decide whether Resendiz, 40, goes to prison for life or is executed by lethal injection for the December 1998 murder.

Defence lawyers admitted that Resendiz had murdered nine people in Texas, Kentucky and Illinois - but they said he was too insane to be convicted of the crimes.

"The defendant ... was totally out of touch with reality," defence attorney Allen Tanner said.

Angel Maturino Resendiz at the time of his arrest
Resendiz: Claimed he was insane

Resendiz, who was on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list when he surrendered to the Texas Rangers, showed no emotion as Texas state District Judge Bill Harmon read the guilty verdict.

Resendiz has a long criminal record and has served time in US jails for violent assaults, the court heard.

Prosecutors argued that Resendiz was a "cold-blooded killer" who had feigned insanity in the hope of escaping the Texas death chamber.

Lyn McClellan told the jury: "The defendant does suffer from one delusion. The delusion he has is that he will be able to convince you that he is insane."

Mad or bad

In testimony last week, Bruce Cohen, a psychiatrist hired by the defence, said Resendiz was a paranoid schizophrenic who believed he was an avenging angel directed by god to kill evil people.

He hated homosexuals and abortionists and may have thought the victims had links to those groups, Mr Cohen said.

But psychiatrists called by the prosecution said Resendiz was only mentally disturbed, not insane.

They said he knew he was breaking the law when he committed the murders.

Computer error

The court was told that Resendiz had travelled across the US and Mexico by train for years.

At one point, he was detained by US immigration authorities, but was deported to Mexico without questioning because of a computer error.

The woman who was raped and murdered in Houston, Dr Claudia Benton, was attacked while her husband and children were away.

She had been working on research into a rare genetic disorder known as Angelman syndrome.

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