Associated Press Writer © 2009 The Associated Press
Jan. 26, 2009, 12:28PM
HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A federal appeals court has stopped this week’s scheduled execution of a man condemned for abducting, raping and strangling a 19-year-old suburban Houston woman 10 years ago.Larry Swearingen, 37, faced lethal injection Tuesday evening for the death of Melissa Trotter, whose body was found Jan. 2, 1999, in the Sam Houston National Forest south of Huntsville. The discovery came 25 days after she was last seen leaving the library at Montgomery College near Conroe.The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the reprieve Monday after Swearingen’s attorneys raised questions about the timing of Trotter’s death. Swearingen insisted he couldn’t have killed Trotter because he was in jail for outstanding traffic warrants when newly evaluated forensic evidence indicates the woman’s body was dumped in the woods not far from his home.