Ángel Maturino Reséndiz (August 1, 1959 – June 27, 2006), also known as The Railroad Killer/The Railway Killer/The Railcar Killer, was an itinerant serial killer suspected in as many as 23 murders across the United States and Mexico during the 1990s. Some also involved sexual assault. He became known as "The Railroad (or Railway) Killer" as most of his crimes were committed near railroads where he had jumped off the trains he was using to travel about the country.
On June 21, 1999, he briefly became the 457th fugitive listed by the FBI on its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list before surrendering to the Texas authorities on July 13, 1999. He was convicted of murder and was executed by lethal injection.
Reséndiz had many aliases but was chiefly known and sought after as Rafael Resendez-Ramirez. One of his aliases, Ángel Reyes Reséndiz, was very close to the name Ángel Leoncio Reyes Recendis listed on his birth certificate. He was born in Izúcar de Matamoros, Puebla, Mexico.
By illegally jumping on and off trains within and across Mexico, Canada and the United States, generally crossing borders illegally, Reséndiz was able to evade authorities for a considerable time. United States government records show that he had been deported to Mexico at least four times since first entering the U.S. in 1973.
Reséndiz killed at least 15 people with rocks, a pickaxe, and other blunt objects, mainly in their homes. After each murder, he would linger in the homes for a while, mainly to eat; he took sentimental items and laid out the victims' driver's licenses to learn about their lives. He stole jewelry and other items and gave them to his wife and mother, who lived in Rodeo, Durango, Mexico. Much of the jewelry was sold or melted down. Some of the items that were removed from the homes were returned by his wife and mother after his surrender. Money, however, was sometimes left at the scene. He raped some of his female victims; however, rape served as a secondary intent. Most of his victims were found covered with a blanket or otherwise obscured from immediate view.
The police tracked down Reséndiz's sister, Manuela. She had seen her brother's FBI Most Wanted Poster and feared that her brother might kill someone else or be killed by the FBI, so she agreed to help the police. On July 12, 1999, a Texas Ranger, Drew Carter, accompanied by Manuela and a spiritual guide, met up with Reséndiz on a bridge connecting El Paso, Texas with Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. Reséndiz surrendered to Carter.
During a court appearance, Reséndiz accused Carter of lying under oath because Reséndiz's family was under the impression that he would be spared the death penalty; however, Reséndiz's ultimate fate would be decided by a jury, not Carter.
In 1999, former Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox, wary of the controversy miring the many confessions and recantations by Henry Lee Lucas, remarked of Reséndiz, "I hope they don't start pinning on him every crime that happens near a railroad track."
Reséndiz would be tried and sentenced to death for Benton's murder.
On June 21, 2006, a Houston judge ruled that Reséndiz was mentally competent to be executed. Upon hearing the judge's ruling, Reséndiz said, "I don't believe in death. I know the body is going to go to waste. But me, as a person, I'm eternal. I'm going to be alive forever." He also described himself as half-man and half-angel and told psychiatrists he could not be executed because he did not believe he could die.
Statements like the above led Dr. Pablo Stewart, a bilingual psychiatrist who evaluated Reséndiz on two occasions in 2006, to conclude that Reséndiz was not currently competent to be executed as "delusions had completely taken over [Reséndiz's] thought processes."
Despite an appeal pending with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Reséndiz's death warrant was signed for the murder of Claudia Benton. He was housed in the Polunsky Unit in West Livingston, Texas.
He was executed in the Huntsville Unit in Huntsville, Texas, on June 27, 2006, by lethal injection. In his final statement, Reséndiz said, "I want to ask if it is in your heart to forgive me. 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 in me. I don't deserve to cause you pain. You do not deserve this. I deserve what I am getting." Reséndiz was pronounced dead at 8:05 p.m. CDT (01:05 UTC) on June 27, 2006.
Claudia Benton's husband George was present at the execution and said Reséndiz was "evil contained in human form, a creature without a soul, no conscience, no sense of remorse, no regard for the sanctity of human life."