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Convicted Rail Killer on Death Row

May 25, 2000

HOUSTON (AP) _ Less than 48 hours after a Houston jury decided he should be put to death, convicted railroad killer Angel Maturino Resendiz arrived on death row Wednesday.

``He said he wants to get this done as soon as possible,″ Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Larry Fitzgerald said the former drifter from Mexico told him as he was being processed into the Terrell Unit near Livingston, home of death row.

Maturino Resendiz was convicted May 18 for the December 1998 rape-slaying of Houston-area researcher Dr. Claudia Benton, one of nine murders his lawyers have acknowledged he committed. The killings all occurred near railroad tracks in Texas, Illinois and Kentucky.

Marco Dosal, spokesman for the Mexican consulate in Houston, said Tuesday that Mexican officials would fight the death sentence.

Dosal said that although Mexico does not condone what Maturino Resendiz did, it unilaterally opposes capital punishment. He will become the 23rd Mexican sent to Texas death row since capital punishment was reinstated in the 1970s.

``We think he got a just trial, he even confessed, so that’s not the point,″ Dosal said. ``Our government does not have the death penalty.″

If Maturino Resendiz, 40, sticks with his desire to seek a quick execution, he could be put to death within a year. Since the state resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982, the shortest time from conviction to execution was eight months and 18 days for Joe Gonzales, put to death in September 1996 for burglary and murder in Amarillo.

Under current laws, convicted killers can expect to spend between six and eight years on death row if they exhaust all their appeals.

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