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Texas execution today: Larry Swearingen gets a lethal injection for 1998 when he killed college student Melissa Trotter



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This undated photo of the Texas Department of Justice shows Larry Swearingen.

Texas Dept. criminal justice


A Texas inmate who argued his conviction was based on junk science was executed on Wednesday for abducting, rape and killing a college student from a suburb of Houston more than 20 years ago. Larry Swearingen, 48, received a lethal injection at Huntsville State Prison for killing 1

9-year-old Melissa Trotter in December 1998. She was last seen leaving her community college in Conroe, and her body was found nearly a month later in a forest near Huntsville, about 70 miles north of Houston.

Swearingen, who had always maintained his innocence at Trotter's death, was the 12th inmate of that year, killing in the US and fourth in Texas the nation's most-frequented death penalty state. Eleven more executions are planned this year in Texas.

"Lord, forgive them," Swearingen said after the overseer asked if he had a final explanation. "You dont know what you are doing."

Then, when the deadly dose of pentobarbital began, he said he could "hear" it in a vein in his arm, then he could taste it. [19659006] "It's actually burning in my right arm, I do not feel anything in my left arm," he said.

Almost immediately, he took a short breath and then began to snore softly. He stopped moving.

He never opened his eyes and never looked at the witnesses who were there for his victim, including their parents, who peeked through a window a few feet away.

At 18:47. CDT – 12 minutes after the onset of lethal dose – Swearingen was declared dead.

"Today Melissa got justice," her family said in a statement to the Texas Department of Justice. "This process has been overwhelming, we want to praise God for guiding us through this terrible ordeal, we believe that we can now move forward and begin the healing process."

"We want Melissa to be a happy, loving nature will be remembered spirit with a beautiful smile. We always knew that justice would prevail for Melissa.

The prosecutors said they were behind the "mountain of evidence" convicted of Swearingen in 2000. They described him as a sociopath with a criminal history of violence against women and said he even tried Swearingen had long attempted to challenge the evidence of his conviction, including prosecutors' claims that Trotter's body had been in the woods for 25 days, and his long-serving appellate lawyer, James Rytting , said at least five defense experts concluded that her body had not been there for more than 14 days, and since Swearingen had been arrested because of outstanding traffic violations at that time, he could not leave her body there … 19659006] Swearingen the Innocence Project was represented, had previously received five executions and w murdered after the US Supreme Court rejected its final appeal, which focused on allegations. The prosecution used "false and misleading statements" regarding blood traces and a piece of pantyhose to strangle Trotter.

Kelly Blackburn, chief prosecutor of the Montgomery district prosecutor's office who prosecuted Swearingen, said Swearingen's efforts to discredit the evidence were unsuccessful because the opinions of his experts did not "hold water."

"I have absolutely no doubt that anyone except Larry Swearingen … killed Melissa Trotter," he said.

Blackburn said Swearingen killed Trotter because he was angry that she had got him up for a date. When Trotter was murdered, Swearingen was charged with kidnapping a former fiancé.

During an interview in 2011, Swearingen told The Associated Press that he was tired of being "demonized" for a crime he did not commit.

] "We all want to know who did it," he said.

Rytting not only questioned Trotter's date of death, but also kept a piece of pantyhose strangling Trotter's trailer. He also denied prosecutors' claims that blood found in Trotter's fingernail shavings, which was certainly not swearing, had been rejected. He said evidence supports the defense theory that someone else killed them.

In letters to Swearingen's lawyers in July and August, the Texas Department of Public Security said that his technicians should not have been so clear in their statements about the blood they found in their fingernails and tights match.

The 5th US Court of Appeals rejected Swearingen's challenge to the blood count and pantyhose match last week and referred to the "Mountain of Proofs", which sealed "Swearingen's guilt in the murder of Trotter". The Court of Appeals disagreed with the allegations of the defense that the certificate of blood and pantyhose compliance was false and misleading.

Blackburn said Swearingen was trying to make people lie to give themselves an alibi. Following his arrest, Swearingen had another inmate write a letter written in Spanish, which turned out to be the real killer and sent to his lawyer. In 2017, Swearingen and another inmate, Anthony Shore, devised a plan to transfer responsibility for killing Trotter to Shore. Shore, who was on death row for another crime, was executed last year.

Rytting said Swearingen was guilty of "doing some very stupid things" but the prosecution had no evidence that he had killed Trotter.


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