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A Texas man with a history of domestic violence against women was put to death Wednesday for the kidnapping, rape and murder of a suburban Houston community college student has for more than 20 years ago.
Larry Swearingen, 48, who is arguing his conviction was based on junk science, received a lethal injection at the prison in Huntsville in December of 1998, the killing of a 19-year-old Melissa Trotter.
She was last seen leaving her with a community college, Conroe, and her body turned up a month later in a forest near Huntsville, about 70 miles north of Houston, texas.
Swearingen, who has always maintained his innocence in the Trotter’s death, became the 12th inmate to be put to death this year in the united states of america and the fourth in Texas, the nation’s busiest capital punishment state. The eleven performances are scheduled in Texas this year.
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The prosecutor said she was the “mountain of evidence” to convict Swearingen, in the year 2000. She described him as a sociopath with a criminal history of violence against women, and said that he had even tried to get a fellow death row inmate to take the blame for his crime.
Swearingen had attempted to cast doubt on the evidence used to convict him, in particular, to the claims of the prosecution experts, that Trotter’s body had been in the forest for 25 days. His longtime appellate lawyer, James Rytting, said at least five of the defense experts decided that her body was there for no more than 14 consecutive days, and, since Swearingen was arrested by the then outstanding parking and traffic fines, and he couldn’t have her.
Swearingen, who was represented by the Innocence Project had received five stays of execution. He was put to death after the U.S. Supreme court rejected his final appeal, which focused on the allegations made by the prosecutors used “false and misleading testimony” regarding the blood evidence, and a piece of the pantyhose used to strangle Trotter.
Kelly Blackburn, the trial bureau chief for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted Swearingen said the killer’s efforts to discredit the evidence, and were not successful, because the experts’ opinions do not “hold water.”
“I have absolutely zero doubt that anyone but Larry Swearingen killed the …, by Melissa Trotter,” he said.
Blackburn said Swearingen killed Trotter because he was angry that she had been with him for a bit. At the time of the Trotter of the dead, and Swearingen was charged with the kidnapping of a former boyfriend.
Larry Swearingen, 48, received a lethal injection at the prison in Huntsville in December of 1998, the killing of a 19-year-old Melissa Trotter. Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)
“Father, forgive them,” Swearingen said, after being asked if he had a final statement. “They don’t know what they’re doing.”
The lethal dose of pentobarbital began, he told me that he can’t “hear” it go in a vein in the arm, then he would have to taste it.
“It is, actually, a burning sensation in my right arm. I don’t feel anything in the left arm,” he said.
Almost immediately, he took in a short breath, then started to snore quietly. He has stopped moving.
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He never opened his eyes again, and looked at the witnesses who were on the victim’s behalf, including her parents, who watched through a window just a few feet from him.
At 6:47 a.m. CT, 12 minutes after the lethal dose started Swearingen was pronounced dead.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.