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The Latest: Texas executes man in college student’s death

August 21, 2019
This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Larry Swearingen. Swearingen, a Texas death row inmate who has long maintained his innocence, is facing execution for the abduction, rape and murder of a suburban Houston community college student more than 20 years earlier. Swearingen is set to receive a lethal injection Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, for the December 1998 killing of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)
This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Larry Swearingen. Swearingen, a Texas death row inmate who has long maintained his innocence, is facing execution for the abduction, rape and murder of a suburban Houston community college student more than 20 years earlier. Swearingen is set to receive a lethal injection Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, for the December 1998 killing of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the scheduled execution of a Texas inmate convicted in the 1998 killing of a suburban Houston community college student (all times local):

6:55 p.m.

Texas has executed a man who maintained his innocence in the abduction, rape and murder of a suburban Houston community college student more than 20 years ago.

Larry Swearingen received a lethal injection Wednesday at the state penitentiary in Huntsville.

The 48-year-old Swearingen was condemned for the December 1998 killing of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter. Her body was found nearly a month after she was last seen leaving her community college in Conroe.

Swearingen argued that his conviction was based on junk science. Prosecutors said they stood behind the “mountain of evidence” used to convict Swearingen in 2000.

Swearingen was the 12th inmate put to death this year in the U.S. and the fourth in Texas, the nation’s busiest capital punishment state. Eleven more executions are scheduled in Texas this year.

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6:10 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to halt the scheduled execution of a Texas inmate who maintains his innocence and contends his murder conviction for killing a suburban Houston college student was based on junk science.

Larry Swearingen is set to receive a lethal injection Wednesday evening for the 1998 killing of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter. Her body was found about a month after she was seen leaving her campus.

Swearingen’s attorneys urged the Supreme Court to stop the execution, alleging prosecutors used “false and misleading testimony” related to blood evidence and a piece of pantyhose used to strangle Trotter.

The Texas attorney general’s office argued that Swearingen failed to show the testimony was false.

The Supreme Court issued its ruling without any comment.

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12:20 p.m.

Attorneys for a Texas death row inmate who maintains his innocence and contends his murder conviction was based on junk science are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop his execution.

Larry Swearingen is set to receive a lethal injection Wednesday evening for the 1998 killing of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter. Her body was found about a month after she was seen leaving her suburban Houston college.

Swearingen’s attorneys allege in their Supreme Court petition prosecutors used “false and misleading testimony” related to blood evidence and a piece of pantyhose used to strangle Trotter.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week rejected a challenge to the testimony, saying it would not have many any difference in the trial due to the “mountain of inculpatory evidence” against Swearingen.

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12:10 a.m.

A Texas death row inmate who has long maintained his innocence is facing execution for the abduction, rape and murder of a suburban Houston community college student more than 20 years ago.

Larry Swearingen is set to receive a lethal injection Wednesday evening for the December 1998 killing of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter. Her body was found nearly a month after she was last seen leaving the college in Conroe.

Swearingen’s attorneys plan to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution, arguing that lower courts haven’t taken into account “the considerable amount of evidence of innocence.”

Prosecutors say Swearingen has a history of violence against women and they stand behind the “mountain of evidence” used to convict him in 2000.

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