Criminal Appeals Court Grants Rare Execution Stay

CONROE — In a rare move today, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest criminal court, stayed the scheduled August 18 execution of Larry Swearingen.

He was convicted of the 1998 rape and murder of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter. The Montgomery Community College student’s body was discovered in the Sam Houston National Forest on Jan. 2, 1999, nearly a month after she disappeared from campus. Witnesses said they saw Trotter leaving the campus with Swearingen on Dec. 8, 1998 — the last time she was seen alive.

Swearingen’s lawyers have filed repeated pleas in state and federal court urging ...

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