Death Row Inmate Who Received Five Stays Set For Execution

Barbara Schwarz
August 21, 2019 - 6:26 am
Prison, Jail

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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - 48-year-old Larry Swearingen' sixth request for a stay was denied unanimously last week by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. 

In 1998, he kidnapped and raped 19-year-old college student Melissa Trotter. She disappeared from a college campus near the Woodlands and her body was found a few weeks later in the Sam Houston National Forest.  

Montgomery County prosecutor Kelly Blackburn says Trotter was strangled with one leg from a pair of panty hose.  "The other half of that pair of panty hose was found at the home of Larry Swearingen in the trash can."

They were seen speaking to each other at Lone Star College prior to her dissapearance.   Blackburn says Trotter had previously stood Swearingen up for a lunch date, and that left Swearingen upset.  

He says they were seen talking at her college before she disappeared...Her lighter and cigarettes were found at his home.  Her hair, which had been pulled from her head, roots intact, was found in his truck.

Blackburn says once in jail, Swearingen composed a letter in Spanish that purported to be someone else confessing to the murder...and it contained details only the police could have known.    "The color of her underwear, no one knew that but the police and the person who murdered her.  The fact that one of her shoes had been pulled off as she was being dragged through the national forest.  Nobody knew about that except the murderer."

Blackburn says Swearingen had a long history of sexually and physically abusing women.    "He was married to multiple women.  In 1992, he was charged with shooting at and kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman in a remote, wooded area.   He was charged and convicted with breaking into a neighbor's house and going through her lingerie, cutting legs off of her panty hose.  Another woman testified that Swearingen gagged her and sexually assaulted  her.   It goes on and on. "

The execution is scheduled for six Wednesday. It would be the fourth of the year in Texas.

Attorneys for Swearingen contends his murder conviction was based on junk science are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop his execution.

Swearingen's attorneys allege in their Supreme Court petition prosecutors used "false and misleading testimony'' related to blood evidence and a piece of pantyhose used to strangle Trotter.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week rejected a challenge to the testimony, saying it would not have many any difference in the trial due to the "mountain of inculpatory evidence'' against Swearingen.