By Chris Bunton
Born in Izucar de Matamoros, Puebla, Mexico, He used train cars as a means to travel throughout Mexico, and the United States, killing people. This earned him the name “The Railroad Killer.”
It was the 1990’s and Resendiz had killed 16 people. He used whatever weapon was available. Guns, a Brick, a Board, a Sledgehammer, are among the list. He raped several of his victims, and robbed them. He would take the valuable jewelry he stole, back to his family in Mexico. He often took the victims cars, and then abandoned the vehicles in nearby towns, leaving evidence behind.
During the course of his life he was deported several times for illegally entering the United States, and spent around 11 years in American prisons for Burglary, Assault, Auto Theft, and other such crimes.
His sister saw a news report about a man hunt for a killer and the photo matched her brother. So, she called the police. It was her that helped negotiate the surrender by Resendiz. On July 12, 1999 Resendiz surrendered to Texas Rangers, on the bridge between El Paso, Texas and Mexico.
During his trial the question of his competence to stand trial for the death penalty was raised. The prosecution and defense argued and brought in psychological evidence to prove their sides of the question. The specific argument was over whether Resendiz was mentally capable of understanding that what he did was wrong. If so, then he was able to be put to death.
His guilt was not at question. He had confessed to the killings and told investigators of several other killings no one knew of, such as his first victims which were homeless people.
A CNN report explains,
“In testimony last week, Bruce Cohen, a psychiatrist hired by the defense, said Maturino Resendiz was a paranoid schizophrenic who believed he was an avenging angel directed by God to kill evil people. He hated homosexuals and abortionists and may have thought the victims had links to those groups, Cohen said.
But psychiatrists called by the prosecution said Maturino Resendiz was only mentally disturbed, not insane. They said he knew he was breaking the law when he committed the murders.
“He was not motivated by the will of God. He was motivated by anger, by power, by the desire for sex, by the desire for control and domination … if you know it’s illegal, you know it’s wrong,” McClellan said.
Under Texas law a person is not considered insane if he or she knew right from wrong while committing the crime.”
Basically, if you try to cover up a crime, then you are showing that you know it’s wrong, and therefore worthy of punishment.
The court agreed and allowed him to face the death penalty. He was executed on June 27th, 2006 in Huntsville, Texas.
He was found guilty of or confessed to killing:
A homeless man and woman in Bexar County, Texas.
Michael White in San Antonio, Texas.
Jesse Howell and Wendy von Huben in Ocala, Florida.
Roberto Castro in Colton, California.
Christopher Maier in Lexington, Kentucky. (His girlfriend Holly Dunn survived)
Leafie Mason of Hugh Springs, Texas.
Fannie Whitney Byers of Carl, Georgia
Claudia Benton of West University Place, Texas.
Norman J. and Karen Sirnic of Weimar, Texas.
Noemi Dominguez of Houston, Texas.
Josephine Konvicka of Dubina, Texas.
George Morber, Sr. of Gorham, Illinois.
Carolyn Frederick of Gorham, Illinois.
I traveled to Gorham, Illinois to see where the murders of these last victims took place.
George Morber, Sr. and Carolyn Fredrick were father and daughter. They were both killed on June 15, 1999.
The town of Gorham is a very small community near the banks of the Mississippi River. It is off the beaten path, like the world just forgot about it.
I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. Typically, when I go on these trips to murder locations, there are signs. I don’t mean literal signs, but typically something will speak as to what and where the event occurred.
I knew it was by the railroad tracks. However, the entire town is built around railroad tracks.
I also, knew that the location was a mobile home in the country outside of town. That could be any number of places.
So, I asked a couple of people who were sitting outside in lawn chairs about it, and they directed me back to the highway, near a fish farm.
How odd it must be to have some guy pull up and ask you about a murder that happened almost 2 decades ago.
I went back to Route 3 and drove around till I found the most likely location. It was off the highway down a private drive. I did not go down it, because I didn’t want to disturb the people who might be living there now.
I parked my car on the highway and walked to a bridge that crossed over the railroad tracks that went right by the mobile home where the murders occurred.
As was the method Resendiz used, he probably rode the train through here, right under this bridge. And as the train passed, he noticed a home near the tracks with a light on. It was secluded. It was perfect for him.
He hopped off the train, landing in the rocks nearby. Then, walked over to the trailer and went inside.
There, he shot George Morber with a shotgun, and beat Carolyn Frederick with the same gun. He robbed them of anything of value. Then he took Morber’s pick-up truck, and drove it to Cairo, Illinois, where he abandoned it. Fingerprints identifying Resendiz, were found in the truck.
Who knows what the exact details were. Maybe George fought for his life. Maybe Resendiz knocked on the door pretending to be seeking help. Then, George and Carolyn lowered their guard and let him inside.
The facts are that George was murdered while tied to a chair, and Carolyn was sexually assaulted, before being beaten so hard the gun broke in half.
That’s the end result. That’s what Resendiz was, despite psychological exams.
The entire community was shocked by the event and knew where it happened; even after decades had passed. Tragedies do not go away.
They just mourn like a train whistle in the far off distance.
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Further reading and sources:
Bio: Chris Bunton is a Writer Poet and Blogger from Southern Illinois.