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Railroad Killer’s Trial To Resume

May 15, 2000

HOUSTON (AP) _ Angel Maturino Resendiz has admitted killing a physician and eight others as he crisscrossed the country on freight trains. The question that may determine his fate is why he did it.

Maturino Resendiz pleaded innocent by reason of insanity in the 1998 death of Dr. Claudia Benton. If the jury finds an illness rendered him unable to discern right from wrong at the time of the slaying, he would likely be committed to a mental institution.

But if he is convicted, prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.

The debate on his sanity was expected to resume today as Maturino Resendiz’s murder trial enters its second week and prosecutors continue their cross-examination of Dr. Bruce Cohen.

Last week, the forensic psychiatrist testified for the defense that, in his opinion, the Mexican drifter killed because of severe paranoid schizophrenia.

According to Cohen, Maturino Resendiz has no remorse or awareness that he committed any of the slayings because he believes he is on a divine mission to eliminate evil.

``He’s saying, ’I can’t stop even if I wanted to because God’s force is on my side and God wants me to destroy evil and that’s why I can’t stop.‴ Cohen testified. ``That doesn’t seem a recognition on his part that he did something wrong.″

When he began cross-examining Cohen on Friday, prosecutor Lyn McLellan accused the psychiatrist of tailoring his testimony to fit the insanity defense strategy. Cohen responded that he found only 10 percent of the several hundred defendants he has evaluated for sanity to be insane.

Though he is accused of killing six people in Texas, two in Illinois and one in Kentucky from 1997 to 1999, Maturino Resendiz is only on trial for the rape, stabbing and bludgeoning of Benton.

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