Thursday, July 13, 2006

June 27, 2006

...The Railroad Killer...

Last Meal: No final meal request.

The skinny: Resendiz, the serial killer who claimed he was half-man, half-angel and could not be killed, was executed for the December 1998 murder of a physician.

More skinny: Eight days before Christmas in 1998, Resendiz sneaked into the upscale home of the victim in the Houston enclave of West University Place, just down the street from a railroad track. Resendiz attacked the sleeping woman, raping her, stabbing her 39 times with a butcher knife, and then beating her to death with a 2 foot tall bronze statue. Resendiz took the victim's cash and fled the scene in the victim's jeep. This murder is among eight in Texas linked to Resendiz, who became known as the "Railroad Killer." Two were tied to him in Illinois and two in Florida, and one each in Kentucky, California and Georgia.

Resendiz's killings began with a murder in San Antonio in 1986 and ended in June 1999 with a double slaying in Illinois. For a while, he was on the FBI's Most Wanted list as authorities searched for a killer who slipped across the U.S. border and roamed the country by freight train.

Legal Machinations: The start of the execution was delayed almost two hours while the U.S. Supreme Court considered several last-day appeals. The court rejected the appeals at 7:25 p.m. Resendiz's lead appeals attorney, Jack Zimmermann, had argued that he couldn't be executed because he didn't believe he could die.

The court also rejected an appeal by the Houston-based consul general of Mexico questioning Resendiz's competency and challenging the constitutionality of the lethal injection process as cruel and unusual punishment. Capital punishment is not practiced in Mexico.

Leading up to: As the hour of the planned execution approached, Maturino Resendiz, who claimed he was an avenging angel and that he could not be killed, visited with his 7-year-old daughter and his mother.

Opponents of the death penalty came to the Huntsville “Walls” Unit on Tuesday evening to protest the execution of Angel Maturino Resendiz, but they were practically outnumbered by the amount of media from around the state covering the controversial case

Last words and such: As execution witnesses — members of his family and those of four of his victims — filled the tiny chambers set aside for them, the killer nodded toward them and apologized for his crimes. "I want to ask if it is in your heart to forgive me," Maturino Resendiz said in a quiet voice. "You don't have to. I know I allowed the devil to rule my life. I just ask you to forgive me and ask the Lord to forgive me for allowing the devil to deceive me. "I thank God for having patience with me. I don't deserve to cause you pain. You did not deserve this. I deserve what I am getting." Before drawing his final breath, the killer, who claimed to be Jewish, prayed in Hebrew and Spanish.

The victim's husband speaks: George Benton, husband of the doctor who was repeatedly stabbed and bludgeoned, lashed out at the killer, the Mexican government, which had supported his appeals, and opponents of the death penalty.

Maturino Resendiz..."looked like a man ... and walked like a man. But what lived within that skin was not a human being." Benton said that every Mexican citizen should "feel denigrated" by their government's effort to save the killer's life, and accused death penalty opponents of failing to comprehend the nature of evil. They could not, he said, understand the pain of telling one's children their mother had been murdered. [The vicitm] was compassionate, her husband said, and would have aided Maturino Resendiz with food, money or advice had he simply knocked on her door and asked. The Mexican government, which opposes capital punishment, was "especially cynical" in urging that Maturino Resendiz be imprisoned for life rather than be executed. The killer, Benton said, was a "diseased human."

Factoids: Resendiz was the....

24th murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1028th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
13th murderer executed in Texas in 2006
368th murderer executed in Texas since 1976