The strong mixing of many-electron basis states in excited atoms and ions with open f shells results in very large numbers of complex, chaotic eigenstates that cannot be computed to any degree of accuracy. Describing the processes which involve such states requires the use of a statistical theory. Electron capture into these “compound resonances” leads to electron-ion recombination rates that are orders of magnitude greater than those of direct, radiative recombination and cannot be described by standard theories of dielectronic recombination. Previous statistical theories considered this as a two-electron capture process which populates a pair of single-particle orbitals, followed by “spreading” of the two-electron states into chaotically mixed eigenstates. This method is similar to a configuration-average approach because it neglects potentially important effects of spectator electrons and conservation of total angular momentum. In this work we develop a statistical theory which considers electron capture into “doorway” states with definite angular momentum obtained by the configuration interaction method. We apply this approach to electron recombination with W20+, considering 2×106 doorway states. Despite strong effects from the spectator electrons, we find that the results of the earlier theories largely hold. Finally, we extract the fluorescence yield (the probability of photoemission and hence recombination) by comparison with experiment.