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Monday, 22 May, 2000, 22:33 GMT 23:33 UK
Serial killer gets death penalty
Angel Maturino Resendiz and his lawyer during his trial
Maturino Resendiz talks to his lawyer during the trial
A Mexican drifter who confessed to murdering nine people has been sentenced to death in Houston, Texas.

The jury of six men and six women deliberated less than two hours before deciding that Angel Maturino Resendiz should die by lethal injection.

Maturino Resendiz was convicted last week for the murder of physician Claudia Benton in 1998.

Afterwards, he said he would rather die than spend the rest of his life in jail and ordered his attorneys to mount no defence in the punishment phase of the two-week-long trial.

Because it was a capital murder case, the only other sentence option under Texas law was life in prison.

Maturino Resendiz after his arrest
Maturino Resendiz after his arrest

Maturino Resendiz commited the crimes in two years as he criss-crossed the US by train.

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

Most wanted

Maturino Resendiz was on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list when he surrendered to the Texas Rangers.

He has a long criminal record and has served time in US jails for violent assaults.

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

In testimony, Bruce Cohen, a psychiatrist hired by the defence, said Maturino 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 Maturino 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 Maturino 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.

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18 May 00 | Americas
Serial killer guilty
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