Accused Rail Killer Called Paranoid

Wednesday, May 10th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP) — Psychological tests show admitted railroad-riding killer Angel Maturino Resendiz is a paranoid schizophrenic with ``intense ... delusions,'' a defense expert testified today.

However, the serial murder defendant does have a conscience and has above-average intelligence, said Dr. Larry Pollack.

Prosecutors rested their case Tuesday after racing through 19 witnesses in two days. The 40-year-old defendant could face the death penalty if he is convicted of the December 1998 murder of Dr. Claudia Benton of suburban West University Place.

Benton is one of six people that the Mexican citizen is accused of killing in Texas. Authorities say he also killed two people in Illinois and another person in Kentucky.

Defense attorney Allen Tanner told jurors in opening statements Monday that his client committed all nine killings, but should be found innocent of Benton's murder by reason of insanity.

Pollack said Maturino Resendiz's answers on a standard psychological test were ``right off the top of the scale'' for paranoia, but were not particularly unusual to questions used to determine whether he was a psychopath.

``The main thing that we get out of this is, he is someone with very intense and strong delusions,'' the Houston neuropsychiatrist testified. ``He believes things about the nature of the world that are unverifiable to anyone else.''

A paranoid schizophrenic lacks the ability to think rationally. A psychopath can't differentiate between right and wrong, but Maturino Resendiz has a conscience and is not a psychopath, Pollack said.

Other results showed that Maturino Resendiz has above-average intelligence but impaired capability to process information, Pollack said. He added that the defendant may have suffered brain damage from glue-sniffing and exposure to pesticides as a youth.

On cross examination, prosecutor Lyn McClellan grilled Pollack on how his examinations of Maturino Resendiz in October could determine the defendant's mental health nearly a year earlier.

``I have a problem how someone could examine someone else today, then extrapolate back to December 1998 as to what the defendant's state of mind was that day,'' McClellan said.

Texas Ranger Sgt. Drew Carter highlighted Tuesday's testimony, which also included the introduction of DNA evidence linking Maturino Resendiz to Benton's rape.

Carter, who arrested Maturino Resendiz when he surrendered at the Texas-Mexico border last summer, described how his search began in February 1999 and blossomed into an international manhunt.

``As time went on, I learned a lot about him, but I learned more about his nomadic nature and that there was really no good place to start,'' Carter said.

He struck up a relationship with Maturino Resendiz's sister, Manuela Maturino Karkiewicz. The work paid off on July 11, 1999, when Karkiewicz called and said her brother was ready to give up.