Railway killer suspect pleads not guilty to murder
Trial set for February 14
July 23, 1999
HOUSTON (CNN) -- Suspected railway killer Angel Maturino Resendiz pleaded not guilty Friday to a capital murder charge in the beating and stabbing death of a Houston doctor, one of nine slayings authorities believe he may have committed in three states.
At the brief arraignment, Maturino Resendiz was formally charged, and the judge set a trial date of February 14.
Defense attorney Allen Tanner said he had no immediate plans to ask State District Judge William Harmon to move the trial out of Houston.
Harmon directed that Resendiz be given a psychological evaluation to certify whether he is competent to stand trial. One of the suspect's conditions for surrender July 13 was that he undergo such an examination.
Maturino Resendiz was indicted Thursday by a Harris County grand jury in the December 17 death of Dr. Claudia Benton, who was killed in her home.
Assistant District Attorney Devon Anderson said a decision will be made before the trial whether to seek the death penalty.
Anderson had a quick answer when asked if she could imagine her office not going for capital punishment.
"No," she replied.
Maturino Resendiz is to be arraigned August 13 on a burglary charge in the Benton case.
Police said they found fingerprints and DNA evidence inside Benton's home that link Maturino Resendiz to the killing. Sources said evidence from the home matched DNA taken from the blood, hair and saliva of Maturino Resendiz following his arrest last week.
Authorities said they found one of Maturino Resendez's fingerprints in Benton's stolen Jeep, and jewelry associated with her in his home in his native Mexico.
Other states ready their cases
Maturino Resendez, 39, also either has been charged or is a suspect in eight other slayings in Texas, Illinois and Kentucky. All the slayings occurred near railroad tracks.
Prosecutors and law enforcement officials agreed that Houston would prosecute him first.
The Mexican drifter surrendered to authorities in El Paso, Texas, after a manhunt in the United States and Mexico that put him on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.
Railway killer suspect indicted for capital murder
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