He's Set to Die Tomorrow, Says Science Proves He's Innocent

Larry Swearingen has long maintained his innocence in the death of Melissa Trotter
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2019 1:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – Larry Swearingen is scheduled to die in Texas on Wednesday. His bid for clemency was unanimously denied Monday by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, though the 48-year-old is waiting to hear on whether the Supreme Court will stay his execution and have him sidestep death for now. It's something he's done before, reports the Houston Chronicle: Over the past 20 years he has been scheduled to die on five occasions. But as this seemingly last date comes up, so, too, does an uproar among some who believe Swearingen is innocent of the abduction, rape, and murder of Melissa Trotter—they plan to rally Tuesday outside the Montgomery County courthouse. What you need to know about the case and Swearingen's claims of innocence:

  • Trotter, 19, was last seen on Dec. 8, 1998, at the student center of what's now the Lone Star College. Swearingen, 27, quickly became a suspect due to what Click2Houston reports was footage of the two talking at a marina two days prior. He was arrested Dec. 11 over outstanding traffic warrants.
  • The story Swearingen told police gradually shifted, reports Texas Public Radio. He first said he didn't know her at all; after her hair was found in his truck, he said they were "dating" and "friends with benefits." Others confirmed the two had dated.

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