Texas on Wednesday put to dying a person discovered responsible of the rape and homicide of a 19-year-old faculty pupil in an execution that adopted arguments from the inmate’s attorneys that authorities ignored key proof that may exonerate him.
Larry Swearingen, 48, who had professed his innocence within the case, was given a deadly injection and pronounced useless at 6:47 p.m. CDT on the state’s dying chamber in Huntsville, Jeremy Desel, a spokesman for the Texas Division of Prison Justice, stated in an e-mail.
Swearingen’s final phrases have been: “Lord forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing,” in accordance with Desel. Swearingen had confronted 5 earlier execution dates over the previous 20 years.
A jury convicted and sentenced Swearingen to die in 2000 for the homicide of Melissa Trotter, who disappeared on Dec. eight, 1998. Trotter was discovered useless 25 days later in a densely wooded space within the Sam Houston Nationwide Forest with a bit of pantyhose round her neck.
Throughout Swearingen’s trial, prosecutors laid out a case based mostly on witness testimony, cellphone information and proof present in his home and truck that they stated linked him to her dying.
At his trial and in a collection of appeals that wound by Texas and federal courts, his legal professionals pointed to DNA proof underneath the sufferer’s fingernails that got here from a person aside from Swearingen.
In addition they had specialists testify that the state of Trotter’s physique confirmed she should have died after Swearingen was in custody following his arrest on different costs.
Prosecutors, in court docket papers, responded that the DNA from one other man may have come from contamination of proof and that Trotter’s physique had the identical clothes she was seen sporting the day she disappeared, which they stated undercut arguments that she died days later.
On the day Trotter went lacking, prosecutors stated, a witness noticed her with a person leaving the Lone Star School–Montgomery library, in The Woodlands, Texas, the place she attended faculty. The Woodlands is about 30 miles (48 km) north of Houston.
Half a pantyhose – which belonged to Swearingen’s spouse – was wrapped round Trotter’s neck, whereas the opposite half was discovered at his house, prosecutors stated in court docket papers.
On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Swearingen’s request for clemency and the U.S. Supreme Court docket on Wednesday denied his request for a keep of execution.
Swearingen was the 12th inmate executed in america and the fourth in Texas in 2019, in accordance with the Loss of life Penalty Data Heart. Texas has executed extra prisoners than another state because the Supreme Court docket reinstated the dying penalty in 1976.