Two Denials to DNA Testing and One Upheld Conviction Maintain Number of Inmates on Texas Death Row

On Wednesday, February 9, 2010 the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied additional DNA testing and upheld convictions for three death row inmates. The Dallas Morning News (2-10- 2010) reported on the request for additional DNA testing by Larry Swearingen and Humberto Leal as well as the upheld death sentence for Adam Kelly Ward.

Larry Swearingen, was sentenced to death in 1999 for the murder of a 19-year-old Montgomery County student. Swearingen and his attorneys have argued that he could not be responsible for the murder because he was in jail on outstanding traffic warrants when Trotter was killed while Montgomery County prosecutors insist evidence shows Trotter was killed before Swearingen was in jail. Swearingen received a stay of execution last November a day before his scheduled execution. The Court of Criminal Appeals denied Swearingen the right to additional testing:
The court said the ‘mere fact’ technology exists and potentially could be successful ‘is not enough to create the right to testing.’ The court also said the trial record ‘is void of any concrete evidence that biological material existed on the evidence sought to be tested.'”

Swearingen will not receive a new execution date until additional federal court appeals are resolved.
The read the Court’s finding in the seeking of additional DNA testing by Larry Swearingen click here.
Additionally, the Court held that Humberto Leal, a Mexican national condemned for the 1994 murder of a San Antonio girl, would unlikely receive additional DNA testing because of the extensive DNA testing done for his original trial.
The Court of Criminal Appeals also upheld the death sentence of Adam Kelly Ward, condemned for the 2005 gunning down of a north Texas housing code enforcement officer. Ward’s appeal argued mental impairment and the legality of the death penalty in Texas.
To view this article in original format click here.