Swearingen executed for 1998 murder, is 4th in Texas to be put to death

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TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Texas man was executed Wednesday night for the abduction, rape, and murder of a Houston college student back in 1998.

Larry Swearingen. 48, was put to death Wednesday evening at 6:47 p.m. for the 1998 murder of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter.

Trotter went missing in December of 1998 and was found a month later in Sam Houston National Forest near Huntsville.

Swearingen always maintained his innocence and said his conviction was based on “junk science.”

Swearingen’s legal team made multiple appeals on his behalf. The latest was to the ask the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to halt the execution, saying that lower courts “have failed to take into account the considerable amount of evidence of innocence.”

They accused prosecutors of using “false and misleading testimony” related to blood evidence and a piece of pantyhose used to strangle Trotter.

The high court declined to issue a stay.

Prosecutors stand behind what they call the “mountain of evidence” that was used to convict Swearingen in 2000. They say he has a violent past against women and allege he tried to get a fellow death row inmate to take credit for the crime.

“I have absolutely zero doubt that anybody but Larry Swearingen killed … Melissa Trotter.”

Kelly Blaackburn, Montgomery County DA’s Office

Swearingen is the fourth person executed in Texas this year, and the 12th nationally.

Eleven more executions are scheduled in Texas this year.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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