Friday, January 9, 2015

Larry Swearingen: Texas; DNA testing still unresolved in death row case - as defence lawyers hope exculpatory evidence from DNA testing will show that Swearingen could not have been the killer because he was serving time in the Montgomery County Jail for unrelated warrants when community college student MelissaTrotter was believed to have been kidnapped and killed.

STORY: "DNA testing still unresolved in Montgomery County's death row case against Larry Swearingen,"  by reporter Brandon K. Scott, published by The Courier of Montgomery County,  on January 4, 2015.

GIST: "Prosecutors are pessimistic about the likelihood that a state district court judge in Montgomery County will ever agree to set an execution date for Larry Ray Swearingen. Swearingen was convicted in July 2000 of the capital murder of community college student Melissa Trotter. His appellate attorney is still hopeful that exculpatory evidence from DNA testing will show that Swearingen could not have been the killer because he was serving time in the Montgomery County Jail for unrelated warrants when Trotter was believed to have been kidnapped and killed. There have been six motions filed by Swearingen seeking additional DNA testing, all of which have been appealed by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. Both sides have filed briefs with the Court of Criminal Appeals and are waiting to learn whether the higher court will hear oral arguments before issuing a ruling, Assistant District Attorney Bill Delmore said..........(Judge) Case wrote in an order filed June 13, 2014, that “it is probable that (Swearingen) would not have been convicted if exculpatory results had been obtained through DNA testing.” There could be testing of Trotter’s rape kit, the torn pantyhose used to strangle her and the four cigarette butts found near her body that were not offered at trial. The judge determined that developing the same DNA profile on the cigarette butts would establish a temporal and geographic connection between the source of the DNA and the crime, and that finding the same DNA on the pantyhose would support Swearingen’s contention that the perpetrator of the crime actually planted the pantyhose after Swearingen was known to have been a suspect. “The fact that the pantyhose was found outside the residence in a publicly accessible location and that the torn pantyhose was not previously identified in two prior searches of the residence by teams of officers trained in the collection of evidence and ordered by the court authorizing the searches to seize items of women’s clothing in the residence for forensic examination, makes Swearingen’s planting theory plausible and capable of proof through the presence of DNA,” Case wrote. For the judge, the killer’s identity is still an issue due to Swearingen’s claim of innocence from his not guilty plea at trial and throughout post-conviction proceedings. Case wrote that exculpatory DNA results would overcome a strong circumstantial case."

The entire story can be found at:


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