CBSN

New Charges Against Rail Killer

Suspected serial killer Angel Maturino Resendiz was charged Friday with two more counts of capital murder in Texas - bringing the number of murder counts in that state to four.

Maturino Resendiz is suspected of killing a total of nine people in three states and already faced five charges that carry possible death sentences.

"I was satisfied going in that we wouldn't have any trouble getting an indictment," said Assistant Colorado County Attorney Joe Fling, who said the grand jury there took little time to act.

The latest charges accuse Maturino Resendiz with the sledgehammer slayings of the Rev. Norman "Skip" Sirnic and his wife Karen, both 47, as they slept inside the parsonage behind the United Church of Christ in Weimar, about 80 miles west of Houston.

Their bodies were discovered May 2. A month later, the community was terrorized again by the similar killing of Josephine Konvicka, 73, at her home three miles from the Sirnic home.

Maturino Resendiz, awaiting a scheduled Feb. 14 trial in the beating and stabbing death of 39-year-old Dr. Claudia Benton in the Houston area, also is suspected of killing Konvicka.

Fayette County Sheriff Rick Vandel, who investigated Konvicka's death, said authorities there don't intend to seek an indictment for now because they're confident a Harris County jury will convict Maturino Resendiz. "We're going to come down there in the punishment phase (if there is a conviction) and tell the jury what a bad actor this guy is," Vandel said. "They've got a real strong case, and the district attorney's office (in Houston) feels real good about it."

Charges also are pending in the June slaying of Houston teacher Noemi Dominguez, 26. As in Fayette County, prosecutors are content to save evidence from that case for a possible punishment phase.

Defense attorney Allen Tanner said he was unaware the grand jury was considering the indictments, which he learned about from a reporter. "I think it's interesting that they're doing this now," Tanner said, but did not explain his comment.

The Harris County district attorney's office is expected to seek the death penalty if Maturino Resendiz is convicted. However, Joe Fling said that wouldn't rule out another prosecution by his office. "I don't know that one death sentence is enough," he said. "They all go up on automatic appeal, and they probably get overturned more than any other kind of sentence. There's something to be said for multiple sentences from multiple jurisdictions."

Public sentiment on whether to undertake an expensive capital murder trial might play a role in whether prosecutors act on Friday's indictments, Fling added.

"He and his family understood that he would be treated humanely, and he doesn't think that if they're going to seek the death penalty, that that's humane," Tanner said earlier this month. There is no death penalty in Resendiz's native Mexico.

Authorities claim Resendiz trveled on railroad cars to get around the country and attacked people who lived near the tracks.