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Rail Suspect Pleads Innocent

Suspected serial killer Angel Maturino Resendiz pleaded innocent Friday to capital murder in a Houston courtroom. He has been charged with the robbery, sexual assault, and murder of Dr. Claudia Benton, a Houston physician.

Prosecutors said they haven't made the final determination whether to seek the death penalty. Arraignment on the charge was set for Aug. 13.

The judge in the case has set a tentative trial date for February 14, 2000.

The late Dr. Benton is one of nine people authorities believe Resendiz has killed in three states. Resendiz is the prime suspect in six Texas killings, two in Illinois and another in Kentucky.

Texas prosecutors hope to have Resendiz psychologically evaluated in order to certify that he is sane and competent to stand trial.

Harris County District Attorney John B. Holmes Jr. was among the prosecutors who filed into the grand jury room at a downtown courthouse annex.

Officials have said fingerprint and other evidence link Maturino Resendiz with the crime. He already was charged with burglary of BentonÂ's home in West University, an enclave of Houston.

Authorities say they found one of Maturino Resendiz's fingerprints in Benton's stolen Jeep, and jewelry associated with her was also recovered from his Mexico home.

Officials say similar evidence links Maturino Resendiz to the June death of Houston schoolteacher Noemi Dominguez.

Authorities in three rural Texas counties where Maturino Resendiz is a murder suspect say they will let the Benton case proceed before moving forward. Prosecutors in Lexington, Ky., say they want to try him for the 1997 slaying of 21-year-old University of Kentucky student Christopher Maier.

Also, prosecutors in Jackson County, Ill., say they will also seek to prosecute Maturino Resendiz for the June deaths of George Morber, 79, and his 51-year-old daughter, Carolyn Frederick.

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