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Man guilty in railroad murder wants to die

The Texas Railroad Killer told a judge he wants the death penalty after a jury rejected an insanity defense and convicted him of murder Thursday in the rape and slaying of a doctor.

"I've decided that injection is better than spending life in jail," Angel Maturino Resendiz said outside the presence of the jury. "Can I tell you my reason? I'm 41, plus 40 years is 81, and I might not make it all the way."

The jury later began hearing testimony on whether Resendiz should receive death by injection or life in prison with no possibility of parole for 40 years.

The drifter from Mexico has admitted killing nine people as he made his way around the United States hopping freight trains.

The jury took 10 hours to convict him Thursday of breaking into the Houston-area home of 39-year-old Dr. Claudia Benton in 1998, sexually assaulting her, and bludgeoning and stabbing her to death.

SPOKANE SERIAL KILLER: A man authorities say is a serial killer who preyed on Spokane, Wash., prostitutes was charged Thursday with seven more murder counts.

Robert L. Yates Jr., who already faces a count of first-degree murder in an August 1997 killing, was also charged Thursday with attempted murder in the case of a prostitute who survived an attack in August 1998.

SUSPECT INCOMPETENT FOR TRIAL: Richard Scott Baumhammers, 34, accused of killing five people during a racially motivated shooting rampage in Pittsburgh last month, was deemed incompetent to stand trial Thursday.

2 killed in pier collapse

PHILADELPHIA _ A pier holding a new open-air bar collapsed and plunged into the Delaware River Thursday night, killing at least two people and injuring more than two dozen.

Twenty-six people were taken to hospitals. Their conditions were not known, and the two fatalities were not identified.

At least 30 people were on the pier when it dropped into the water about 8:25 p.m. A canvas tent over the pier also collapsed, covering many people who fell into the water. Fire and police officials are investigating.

Hair puts job in jeopardy

A black Colonial Williamsburg, Va., hotel cashier who dyed her hair blonde says her new color has landed her in trouble with her bosses, who think it looks unnatural.

"I'm not doing anything wrong. I just want my hair blonde," said Janel Rankins, 21, who works at the Williamsburg Inn. "I saw white people with blonde hair, and I liked it. I thought it would look cute on me."

The written reprimand said she could face disciplinary action up to recommended termination if she didn't switch to a more natural color.

Colonial Williamsburg's appearance policy says dyed hair must be natural-looking.

Elsewhere . . .

MOM, SON GUILTY IN MURDER: Mother-and-son grifters were convicted Thursday of murdering an 82-year-old millionaire Manhattan widow in a plot to steal her elegant townhouse mansion.

The jury forewoman pronounced "guilty" 118 times _ 58 times for Sante Kimes and 60 for Kenneth Kimes _ in the slaying of Irene Silverman, a former Radio City Music Hall dancer whose body has never been found.

Sante Kimes, 65, and her 25-year-old son could get up to life in prison at sentencing June 27.

Prosecutors said the two plotted to steal the six-story Beaux-Arts mansion Silverman's husband had left her.

Silverman vanished in 1998.

WOMAN IN TERROR PLOT RELEASED: A Montreal woman once linked by prosecutors to a vast terror conspiracy was sentenced Thursday to time served _ 58 days _ for attempting to smuggle aliens into the United States.

Lucia Garofalo, a 35-year-old mother of three, said she was sorry for her actions.

Garofalo was arrested at the Beecher Falls, Vt., border crossing Dec. 19. She was arrested along with Algerian national Bouabide Chemmach five days after Algerian Ahmed Ressam was apprehended trying to enter Washington with bombmaking parts.

ANOTHER BIG GAME WINNER: A suburban Chicago family won the other half of last week's $363-million Big Game jackpot, lottery officials announced Thursday.

The family from Lake County will claim their prize at a news conference in Chicago today.