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Maturino Resendiz Found Guilty of Capital MurderAired May 18, 2000 - 12:15 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you right to the Houston courtroom now, where the so-called "railway killer" trial has been under way, expecting verdict. The specific case that of the murder of rape of Dr. Claudia Benton, a 39-year-old women who was stabbed and bludgeoned to death and raped, allegedly by Maturino Resendiz.
The jury is in the courtroom, and now being seated. So we are awaiting, as I say, the verdict.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Will you please pass that to the bailiff.
Mr. Resendiz, would you please rise?
We, the jury, find the defendant Angel Maturino Resendiz, also known as Raphael Resendez Ramirez, guilty of capital murder as charged in the indictment, signed by the foreman. So say you all. You may be seated.
Members of the jury, my clerk is going to call out your names one by one. When she calls out your name please respond to the following question: Is the verdict of the jury find the Angel Maturino Resendiz guilty of the offense of capital murder, as charged in the indictment, in fact your verdict by responding either it is or it is not.
Does everyone understand the question? All right.
SESNO: And we do apologize for the loss of the picture there, just explaining to you that there is a pool camera in the courtroom there, and it is not something we can control.
But you heard the verdict, and that is that Angel Maturino Resendiz guilty as charged in the death of 39-year-old Doctor Claudia Benton. She was murdered, stabbed, bludgeoned, raped, as part of what investigators say was a string of murders committed by Resendiz, not disputed, by the way, by the defense team. But they had tried to argue guilty by reason of insanity.
And in this particular case, this one particular case, Doctor Benton's case, the jury returning guilty as charged. They are now polling the jury. That is standard operating procedure. The accused here is subject to life in prison or execution.
Our legal analyst Roger Cossack standing by. Roger, explain some of what went into this trial is the very interesting notion that the defense team did not dispute the actual deeds here.
ROGER COSSACK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, Frank, this was an all or nothing by the defense team. What they did was certainly was they admitted the facts, they admitted he was the railway killer, the one that had done the horrendous deeds. But what they said was that he was not guilty by reason of insanity. They had testimony that he was a paranoid schizophrenic that heard messages from God or from an avenging angel that told him to do these things. he apparently claimed that he suffered from these kinds of delusions, and that was -- and that, therefore, he was uncontrollable when he did this.
The prosecution, on the other hand, said -- brought in experts who said: Yes, he is -- he is mentally disturbed but not crazy, and that he knew right from wrong, which is the test, and apparently what happened was the jury believed the prosecution, to the degree that they were able to find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
SESNO: Roger, define capital murder as a legal term.
COSSACK: Capital murder means that kind of murder. Not every -- First of all, it is the death penalty, and not every murder is a death penalty, and each state has the ability to fashion a murder statute that, as long as it is constitutional, calls for the death penalty, such things as multiple murders or murder while committing an act, like a violent crime, or while you're doing a robbery, or one that is particularly heinous with torture.
In this particular case, these were very brutal crimes. Frank, we don't have to go into the details of how horrible they were, but this is a crime that, now that he has been convicted, calls for one of two penalties: either the death penalty by injection or life without possibility of parole.
SESNO: All right, Roger Cossack, thanks very much. We will bring you more on the verdict just in, the subject of Maturino Resendiz, also known as the railway killer, as the day progresses.
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