Texas Executes Man for Murder Conviction Whose Alibi Was That He Was Already Incarcerated

Larry Swearingen speaks from the interview cage at the death row facility in Livingston, Texas in 2009.
Photo: AP (Mike Graczyk)

Texas killed a man who maintained his innocence over a capital murder conviction for a 1998 murder on Wednesday. Larry Swearingen, 48, and his legal team fought hard to overturn his conviction for the strangling death of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter. His lawyers said that the court’s decision was based on circumstantial evidence and “junk science.”

Multiple forensic scientists found that Trotter was likely killed more than a week after Swearingen was arrested for unrelated traffic warrants, meaning that he allegedly could not have killed Trotter because he was already in jail. His last appeal was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday evening.

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Swearingen’s parents, brother, grandfather and uncle were reportedly in a nearby room when he was killed.

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According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Swearingen was injected with pentobarbital, a sedative.

“Lord forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing,” he said.

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“Texas murdered an innocent man,” Swearingen wrote in a statement to the Washington Post before his death. “I feel certain that my death can be a catalyst to change the insane legal system of Texas which could allow this to happen,” he wrote.

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