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Man gets death penalty in Texas railroad killing

The admitted railroad killer who made the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List was sentenced to death Monday for killing a Houston-area doctor, one of nine murders he was accused of committing.

On Thursday, the jury convicted Maturino Resendiz of capital murder in the death of Claudia Benton, who was attacked and bludgeoned in her own home just before Christmas 1998. The panel could have sentenced the Mexican drifter to life in prison. He had asked for the death penalty.

Elian rescuer sues

MIAMI _ The man photographed holding Elian Gonzalez during the armed raid in which the Cuban boy was seized is suing federal government officials, saying his constitutional rights were violated.

The federal lawsuit filed Monday by Donato Dalrymple against Attorney General Janet Reno, Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder and Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner Doris Meissner seeks damages in excess of $100-million.

Dalrymple claims his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure was violated. The suit also claims that Reno, Holder and Meissner violated his Fifth Amendment due process rights.

Elsewhere . . .

PRESIDENT MEETS WITH MBEKI: President Clinton met Monday with South African President Thabo Mbeki in Washington, D.C., to pursue ways to help South Africa end its long-running fight with drug companies over producing cheaper, generic AIDS treatments.

WITNESS KILLED: Jennifer Rivera, a 15-year-old girl who was a key witness in a murder case, was fatally shot in the head in Providence, R.I., the day before the trial was to begin. The trial has been postponed.

Lawyers for murder defendant Charles Pona, 19, denied he was involved. He had been free on bail.

Pona was scheduled to be tried Monday in the August shooting death of Hector Feliciano, 17, in what investigators believe was a drug-related attack.

Jennifer, until recently a student at Roger Williams Middle School, testified at Pona's bail hearing last year that she saw a person fitting his description fleeing the scene of the slaying.

FATAL BORDER SHOOTING: An unidentified Mexican who waded across the Rio Grande near Brownsville, Texas, was shot to death in a struggle with a Border Patrol agent, officers said. The FBI is investigating. The Justice Department will decide whether the use of deadly force was justified.

THURMOND RELEASED: Sen. Strom Thurmond, the oldest and longest-serving senator in American history, was released from the hospital once again Monday after a three-day stay for what an aide said was a back problem.

The South Carolina Republican, 97, was released from Walter Reed Army Medical Center at 10 a.m., said spokeswoman Genevieve Erny. An hour later, he was back at his customary task of gaveling the Senate to order for the day's session.

Thurmond's most recent hospitalization, which began Friday morning, was his third in recent days. On May 15 he had been released from Walter Reed after twice being hospitalized for an upset stomach and fatigue.

CANYON REOPENS: The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park reopened to visitors Monday, almost two weeks after being shut down by a fire that ultimately charred 13,350 acres. About 300 vehicles were waiting when park officials opened the gate at the North Rim entrance.