On this date, December 8, 1998, Melissa Trotter was murdered by Larry Swearingen in Sam Houston National Forest. In loving memory of her, we will make her one of the 26 Christian Martyrs of Unit 1012 and we will remember her every year on November 26 and December 8.
We will post information about the case before giving our comments and condolences.
[PHOTO SOURCE: http://murderpedia.org/male.S/s/swearingen-larry-photos.htm]
INTERNET SOURCE: http://murderpedia.org/male.S/s/swearingen-larry.htm
Larry Ray Swearingen was convicted of killing Melissa Trotter in the course of either an aggravated kidnapping or aggravated sexual assault.
According to the prosecution, Swearingen became angry that Trotter rejected his sexual advances. He strangled her with pantyhose, and left her body in the woods where she remained until about 25 days after the crime was committed.
Trotter was found lying on her back, clothing pulled up under her arms, and one shoe off. Her jeans were on and the fly was closed, but one pocket was torn exposing her red underwear. No scratches were found on her skin, and no soil was on her shoes.
Evidence showed the pantyhose came from Swearingen’s home, and that Trotter also had an injury on her neck that could have been caused by a knife. She had no injuries that indicated she had struggled with her assailant, but did have a bruise on her face, and a discoloration in her vagina that could have been a bruise, though there was no evidence of penetration.
Swearingen wrote a letter to his mother in Spanish purporting to be from a female who implicated her boyfriend was the murderer. At trial, the state proved the letter was written in Swearingen’s handwriting.
Texas Attorney General
Media Advisory: Larry Swearingen scheduled for execution
January 21, 2009
AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott offers the following information about Larry Ray Swearingen, who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 27, 2009.
On July 11, 2000, Swearingen was sentenced to die for the kidnaping, rape and strangulation of Melissa Trotter. A summary of the evidence presented at trial follows.
After meeting Trotter, a nineteen-year-old college student, in December 1998, Larry Swearingen told his co-workers and friends that he had met an attractive college girl and hinted that he wanted to have sex with her. In the early afternoon of December 8, Swearingen and Trotter were seen departing together from Montgomery College in Conroe after talking to each other in the school library.
Trotter’s friends and family never again saw the college student alive. Swearingen became the focus of an investigation into the woman’s disappearance, because he was the last person seen with her. On December 11, Swearingen was arrested on unrelated outstanding warrants.
On January 2, 1999, Trotter’s partially nude body was discovered in Sam Houston National Forest. She had been strangled with a piece of torn hosiery found around her neck.
Evidence showed she had been raped.
Fiber evidence showed that Trotter had been in Swearingen’s trailer, on the floor and perhaps on the bed, and in the cab of his pickup truck. And evidence in the truck cab showed that some of her hair had been pulled from her head. Although neither Swearingen nor his wife smoked, a pack of cigarettes, Trotter’s brand, was found in Swearingen’s trailer.
A piece of hosiery, the companion to the piece used to strangle Trotter, was found in a trash heap beside Swearingen’s trailer. Hair evidence linked the hosiery to Swearingen’s wife.
Cell phone records showed that on the day that Trotter disappeared, Swearingen traveled from his trailer to the area where the body was found. After Trotter disappeared, Swearingen told friends that he was in trouble and that the police would be after him.
While in jail awaiting trial, Swearingen, using a Spanish-English dictionary, composed a letter in crude Spanish, purportedly written by an individual named “Robin.” In the letter “Robin” identified Trotter’s killer as an individual named “R.D.” The prosecution alleged that Swearingen composed the letter, arranged for it to be hand-copied by a cellmate, and had the letter delivered to authorities, to deflect blame from himself.
- Jan. 26, 1999 – A Montgomery County grand jury indicted Swearingen for kidnapping-related capital murder.
- Nov. 2, 1999 – He was reindicted, with rape-related capital murder added.
- June 28, 2000 – A jury found him guilty of capital murder.
- July 11, 2000 – After a separate punishment hearing, the court sentenced him to death.
- Mar. 11, 2002 – Swearingen filed his initial state application for habeas corpus relief.
- Mar. 26, 2003 – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed his conviction and sentence.
- May 21, 2003 – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Swearingen’s initial application for habeas corpus relief. He filed his petition for habeas corpus relief in the federal court, Southern District, Houston Division.
- Oct. 19, 2004 – In the trial court, Swearingen, acting without a lawyer, sought additional DNA testing.
- May 21, 2004 – Swearingen filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in a Houston U.S. district Court.
- April 7, 2005 – The trial court denied his request for additional testing.
- April 8, 2005 – Still acting without counsel, in connection with this testing request, Swearingen sought mandamus review with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
- May 20, 2005 – Again acting without counsel, Swearingen filed a second application for mandamus review with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
- June 8, 2005 – The Court of Criminal Appeals denied both requests for mandamus review.
- Sept. 1, 2005 – Swearingen filed petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court asking that Court to review the state court’s denial of his second mandamus request.
- Sept. 8, 2005 – In federal habeas corpus proceedings, the district court denied relief but allowed Swearingen to appeal.
- Sept. 9, 2005 – Swearingen filed a notice of appeal with the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Feb. 1, 2006 – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed Swearingen’s appeal in connection with his request for DNA testing.
- Feb. 21, 2006 – Swearingen sought rehearing from the Court of Criminal Appeals in connection with his DNA testing request.
- Mar. 27, 2006 – The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari review of state court’s denial of mandamus review.
- May 10, 2006 – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied his request for rehearing on his DNA appeal.
- July 31, 2006 – The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the federal district court’s denial of habeas corpus relief.
- Nov. 22, 2006 – Swearingen filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Jan. 22, 2007 – Swearingen filed a second application for state habeas corpus relief.
- Jan. 23, 2007 – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals remanded the application for a hearing.
- Feb. 20, 2007 – In federal court, after the Fifth Circuit Court affirmed the district court’s denial of habeas corpus relief, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari review.
- Jan. 16, 2008 – As for Swearingen’s second state habeas corpus application, when the case returned after remand, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief.
- Jan. 22, 2008 – Swearingen filed a third state application for habeas corpus relief.
- Mar. 5, 2008 – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals remanded the third application for a hearing.
- July 31, 2008 – Swearingen, without an attorney, filed a third application for mandamus review with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
- Nov. 26, 2008 – In a separate action, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed Swearingen’s motion to recuse, filed without an attorney.
- Dec. 4, 2008 – Swearingen, without an attorney, for the fourth time sought mandamus review with the Court of Criminal Appeals.
- Dec. 17, 2008 – As for his third state habeas corpus application, upon return after remand, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief. The court also rejected Swearingen’s third request for mandamus review. The convicting court set the execution date for January 27, 2009.
- Jan. 6, 2009 – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected his fourth request for mandamus review.
In the punishment phase of his trial, evidence was introduced that Swearingen had committed two unadjudicated rapes, one unadjudicated assault on his ex-wife, and that while awaiting trial, he had tried to escape.
Family photos of Melissa Trotter, 19, who disappeared in 1998.
Body of Evidence
VIDEO SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S10AuXvhqco
COMMENTS AND CONDOLENCES:
To the loved ones of Melissa Trotter,
Precious in the sight of the LordIs the death of His saints.- Psalm 116:15 (NKJV)
We, the comrades of Unit 1012, walk in the shoes of you all. We feel your sorrow and have strong empathy and sympathy for you all. We will keep you in our prayers. We never forget the way Melissa lived on this earth, as we remember her every year on her birthday on November 26.
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.- II Corinthians 4:8
Here are some prayer points we will remember:
- Pray for the loved ones of Melissa Trotter that they would be comforted.
- Pray that the Justice System in Texas be improved.
- Pray that we will never forget the victim by remembering how she lived on this earth.
- Most of all, remember the victim in prayer and she is in the hands of Jesus Christ in for eternity.