48 Hours Live to Tell: The Railroad Killer
Holly Dunn: I don't have things that I think about all the time. ...I can't forget about Chris being hit... the rock hitting him. That really is probably the part that I try the hardest and can't forget.
Devon Anderson: She was definitely our star witness. She was our only living witness. Nobody else could speak out against him in first person. "This is what happened to me. This is what he did to me." We didn't have anybody else.
Trial started in May of 2000. It was held here in Houston.
He was so different at trial. I guess sitting in jail he got fat, he got the jail house pallor, had grew his hair, greasy.
There was not a shred of humanity about this man. He did not deserve to live among us. I wanted to put him down.
Local news report: Resendiz faces capital murder charges in the stabbing death of Dr. Claudia Benton.
Devon Anderson: [Dr. Claudia Benton] had been sexually assaulted, stabbed, beaten in the head. He was only charged with one because that's all you need to get the death penalty.
He ultimately pleaded not guilt by reason of insanity. The evidence was overwhelming as to his guilt. ...So that was really his only out - was the insanity defense. We knew we were battling with the jury not wanting to believe that someone could do these horrible things to people and be sane. ...A lot of people did not want to believe - you have to be crazy to do that to someone. You have to be crazy.
The jury reached a verdict after many hours of deliberation. It was pretty - nail biting... But they worked through the evidence. They saw all the indications that he knew what he was doing was wrong, and then they ultimately convicted him of capital murder.
Holly Dunn: I actually got involved in the penalty phase of the trial, so that's when they say whether he gets the death penalty or life in prison.
Devon Anderson: I knew I wanted Holly to testify last. So by the time she took the stand, the jury had heard the gruesome details of all the other murders we had solved at that point. It was a horror show. Heads beaten to a pulp. Knives put all the way through the body, that's how much force was used. Just horrific violence.
Det. Craig Sorrell: We were the last of the cases presented. I testified as to the evidence at the scene, presented the pictures... And then, lastly, Holly testified as the only surviving victim.
Holly Dunn: I flew into Houston with my family the night before I was going to testify. And I woke up during the middle of the night screaming and crying.
I talk about the trial as the hardest day of my life. ...What I was most worried about, I think, was seeing him again.
Devon Anderson: I cannot imagine the amount of courage she had to marshal to come into that courtroom to walk in and face him.
Holly Dunn: [Devon Anderson] told me, "Don't look at him. Look at me. I'll be right in front of you. You know, look at your family. They'll be right behind me. He'll be off to your left. Just do not look at him."
The first question that the prosecutor asked me on the stand was "What did you do last weekend?" And so I was like, I graduated from college. ... It felt good for me to be able to say, you know, I graduated from college ... in front of the guy who basically could have ruined my life and destroyed it. And not that he cared, because I don't think he did.
For me to be able to say, "You didn't destroy me." Like... "I'm still here. I'm still strong. I'm still, you know, the same person I was" - it felt good. It felt like I'd finally had my chance.
I told all the details of what I knew, what I remembered. And, you know, cried through the entire testimony... I was crying - all the jury was crying. I don't even remember exactly what I said or how long it took.
Det. Craig Sorrell: Sometimes you don't always have the human picture, the actual human suffering. Because there's no victim to stand in front of you to tell you what they experienced, what they went through. Holly gave that to Chris and all the others that had been murdered. She was able to give a real-life person - to give them a real feeling of the brutality of this man.
Holly Dunn: They got to the moment in the trial when they say, "Is the person who attacked you in the courtroom today?" I hadn't looked at him yet. I knew he was there. I said, "Yes."
Devon Anderson: I wanted it to be the last thing that jury heard and the last thing they saw was Holly Dunn sitting on that witness stand saying, "That's the man."
Holly Dunn: They said, "Well, could you tell us what he's wearing?" And I turned and looked at him. It was surreal. I said, "He's wearing a white button-down shirt." And they - I mean, I literally - I felt my hearing going into my head. He had like this smug look on his face. And I mean, I was so close to fainting when I looked at him again that I mean - I don't know how I didn't.
Devon Anderson: It was devastating. And it was the best part of our case... I mean, she basically, from his perspective, came back from the grave - to nail him.
The jury did find that he was a future danger to society. So the judge sentenced him to death.
Holly Dunn: I felt, I guess, relieved. I mean it just felt good to know that he would never be able to hurt anyone ever again.
Devon Anderson: After the trial, Resendiz was sent to death row in Huntsville, Texas. He was not tried for any other crimes. He had gotten the ultimate penalty. When the last appeal was denied, he was put to death in June 2006.
Holly Dunn: I chose not to attend the execution because Resendiz represented all those angry feelings that I had. And I decided to stay with my family, be surrounded by my family. I had already seen one person die in front of me and I did not need to see another.
Devon Anderson: I read an account of the execution, and it said that right before they injected him, his feet were shaking under the sheet. And I hoped that he experienced some of the fear - that Holly did. That gave me a small sense of satisfaction, that he was scared.
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