Sunday, July 31, 2011

NEW: Larry Swearingen execution stalled (Texas)

Photo found at Justice Denied dot org

Larry Swearingen’s Execution Is Stayed So His Actual Innocence Claim Can Be Considered

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has issued a stay of Larry Swearingen’s execution scheduled for August 18, 2011. The Court’s Order issued on July 28 was based on Swearingen’s writ of habeas corpus filed on June 22, 2011 that raises a single claim: he is actually innocent of murdering Melissa Aline Trotter because at the time of her death he was in the Montgomery County Jail.

Larry Swearingen during prison interview on July 27, 2011 (Justin Dehn)

Texas is one of eight states that allows a free-standing claim of actual innocence, and the Court ordered the stay so that the new due process violation alleged in his petition — that he is actually innocent — can be reviewed and resolved by the trial court.Swearingen was convicted in 2000 of murdering Ms. Trotter, a 19-year-old freshman at Montgomery College in Conroe, Texas.

Ms. Trotter was last seen by family and friends on December 8, 1998, and her clothed body was found on January 2, 1999 by hunters in the Sam Houston National Forest north of Conroe. Swearingen was a friend of Ms. Trotter’s and he was seen with her on the college campus the day she disappeared, but he wasn’t seen leaving with her. Three days after she was last seen the 27-year-old Swearingen was arrested on December 11 for outstanding traffic tickets. He was in custody from then until Ms. Trotter’s body was found three weeks later. He was subsequently charged with kidnapping, raping, and murdering her.

The prosecution’s case during Swearingen’s trial was circumstantial because there was no direct evidence he was Ms. Trotter’s assailant and DNA tests excluded him as the source of blood under her fingernails and of a pubic hair recovered from a vaginal swab. READ rest of article here

Photo/article also found at Death Penalty Information Center)

No comments: