Montgomery County Judge Kelly Case today ordered that the Feb. 27 execution of Larry Swearingen be withdrawn. The move allows Swearingen to pursue DNA testing in the 1998 murder of Melissa Trotter. Whether the state will formally oppose testing remains to be seen.*
This is the fourth time Swearingen's execution has been stayed.
And find a more detailed background on the case here.
* A previous version of this story suggested that Case had ruled that the DNA testing would be granted. Instead, that determination has yet to be made. Montgomery County prosecutors had said they would agree to expedited testing, but Case denied the state their plan, which would have the evidence immediately released to a lab of the defense's choosing and would circumvent the codified legal procedure that governs post-conviction testing. The denial of the state's expedited plan and the withdrawal of the execution date will allow Swearingen's defense to pursue DNA testing in court and in compliance with post-conviction DNA testing law.
Copyright © 2014 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.