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January 26, 2009

One Texas execution stayed, two more still scheduled for this week

This new AP story provides the latest execution news and notes coming from Texas this week:

A federal appeals court on Monday stopped this week's scheduled execution of a man condemned for abducting, raping and strangling a 19-year-old suburban Houston woman 10 years ago. Larry Swearingen, 37, faced lethal injection Tuesday evening for the death of Melissa Trotter, whose body was found Jan. 2, 1999, in the Sam Houston National Forest south of Huntsville. The discovery came 25 days after she was last seen leaving the library at Montgomery College near Conroe.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reprieve came in response to questions from Swearingen's attorneys about the timing of Trotter's death. Swearingen insisted he couldn't have killed the woman because he was in jail for outstanding traffic warrants when newly evaluated forensic evidence indicates her body was dumped in the woods not far from his home....

Swearingen would have been the fourth condemned prisoner executed this year. Two more executions are scheduled later this week in the nation's most active death penalty state....

On Wednesday, Virgil Martinez, 40, is set to die for a 1996 shooting rampage that left four people dead, including his ex-girlfriend and her 3- and 6-year-old children. On Thursday, Ricardo Ortiz, 46, was scheduled for execution for fatally injecting a fellow inmate with heroin in 1999 at the El Paso County Jail to stop the victim from testifying against him in a robbery case.

January 26, 2009 at 02:59 PM | Permalink


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