Larry Swearingen | Texas Public Radio

Larry Swearingen

The Walls Unit in Huntsville where death row inmates are executed.
Jack Morgan | Texas Public Radio

Texas death row inmate Larry Swearingen was executed Wednesday evening for the 1998 murder of Melissa Trotter. She was a 19-year-old student at Lone Star College on the Montgomery County campus.

David Martin Davies

Convicted killer Larry Swearingen is scheduled to be executed Wednesday. It was almost 20 years ago that Swearingen was found guilty of the abduction, rape and strangulation of Montgomery County college student Melissa Trotter.

David Martin Davies | Texas Public Radio

In a murder investigation, establishing a time of death help can lead to arresting and convicting the perpetrator — or exonerating someone wrongfully accused. That's why getting it right can mean life or death for someone like Texas death row inmate Larry Swearingen. He is facing execution Wednesday for a murder he says he didn’t commit.

The science of “time of death” is something studied every day at the Forensic Anthropology Center in San Marcos, also known as “The Body Ranch.”


David Martin Davies | Texas Public Radio

Larry Swearingen is scheduled to be executed Wednesday by the State of Texas.

It was 19 years ago that Swearingen was convicted of the abduction, rape and murder of Melissa Trotter. This is the sixth time that Swearingen had a date with death in the Texas prison system. But lingering questions about his guilt have caused the courts to repeatedly step in.