|Contact Larry Swearingen|
TDCJ-ID Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351
|DOB: May 21, 1971|
|Larry Swearingen's case data|
|State and County||Texas, Montgomery County|
|Crime||(1) one count of murder while in the course of kidnapping, and sexual assault|
|Date of Crime||December 8, 1998|
|Date of Arrest||December 11, 1998 (for traffic violations)|
|Date of Conviction||July 12, 2000|
|Age at the Date of Crime||27|
|Contributing Factors||Misleading Forensic Evidence, Official Misconduct, Ineffectiveness of Counsel|
|Did DNA evidence contribute to the conviction?||No|
|Is there DNA evidence to test?||Yes|
On the morning of December 8, 1998 after leaving my ex-wife at my parents for a ride to work, I proceeded to SEARS AUTOMOTIVE CENTER in the woodlands, before travelling to Cavenders Boottown for some shopping.
After leaving Cavenders I stopped at the carwash on Rayford/Sawdust Road, washing my truck before meeting Gail at the community college, who owed money for work I had done for her.
While at the school, I saw and spoke with Melissa, the victim in my case, which I had known for a few months prior to this date, yet the jury was not told or presented available evidence of this.
After speaking to Melissa, we parted ways, with her heading towards the cafeteria, and me going to the parking lot, never to see another again.
The State argued that Melissa left with me of her own free will, with us going for lunch, before travelling to my residence, where, according to the State, I asked for sex, told no, decided to rape, then kill Melissa, taking her body to the East Texas National Forest, where State argued it had laid exposed to the elements for 25 days prior to discovery.
Statement of Case
- On December 8, 1998 Melissa Trotter was seen at the Montgomery County Community College in the ELC building (School Library) and cafeteria between 2:00 and 2:30 PM by separate witnesses after Larry Swearingen had left the school around 1:30 PM or so. This was the last time anyone known by Larry Swearingen or State saw Melissa Trotter alive.
- On December 9, 1998 massive searches commenced, searching the areas around the Community College, and wooded area within Montgomery County. These searches were subsequently called off December 22, 1998 until the Sheriffs Department could establish more leads into the disappearance of Melissa Trotter.
- On December 11, 1998 Larry Swearingen was arrested at his parents residence on the pretex of having outstanding traffic warrants for his arrest. Larry Swearingen has remained in constant custody to date, without having been released on any type of bail.
- On January 2, 1999 Melissa Trotter’s body was discovered in the Sam Houston National forest, where State alledged it hat laid exposed to the elements for a period of 25 days, in an area previously searched by law enforcement on at least three (3) different occasions.
- On January 3, 1999 Dr. Joye Carter, then chief medical examiner, conducted the autopsy on Ms. Trotter’s corpse. Dr. Carter worked alone on this case, although Harris County employed eight (8) pathologists on its staff. Questioning by defense counsel revealed Dr. Carter normally did the high-profile cases that got alot of media attention. Though Dr. Carter had no other pathologist in attendence, she did have several “guests” as she described them at autopsy. Among the guests was a forensic photographer, non-physican assistant, two forensic dentists, and two (2) high ranking detetectives from the Sheriffs office, along with the District Attorney of Montgomery County. Dr. Carter also revealed there are instances where more than one pathologist would perform the autopsy and confer to make an opinion or form an opinion as to cause of death or time of death. While she conceded to this, Dr. Carter stated this was not true in this case, as it was one of her high-profile cases.
- The concern arises, in this circumstance, that Dr. Carter, crossing county lines to work alone in this, one of her high-profile cases that attracted alot of media attention, knowing the media had already reported the conclusions of Sheriff Guy Williams and investigators who attended autopsy that Ms. Trotter had died “shortly after” being seen at the Community College December 8, 1998, and knowing Larry Swearingen was jailed all but three (3) days after the massive searches begun, compromised the independence of her office by conducting an incomplete postmortem inquiry to reach a conclusion that mimic’s investigators version of events.
- Instead of coping with the scientific demands of her job, Dr. Carter succembed to a compensatory willingness to trust in the assumptions of the investigating officers that Ms. Trotter was killed at a time Larry Swearingen was not jailed. Perhaps the abdication of duty would on occasions raise no real concern, if the investigators and Sheriff had been correct in their assumptions, and the time of death was not indisputable. However, the facts are very indisputable at this time, as they should have been at trial; and as the evidence now shows, after a complete postmortem inquiry, Larry Swearingen was in no position, literally, to have committed the murder of Ms. Trotter, as he was already jailed on the outstanding traffic warrants.
- Fingernail scrapings collected during autopsy revealed small traces of blood. DNA testing revealed this blood was male in origin, and excluded Larry Swearingen as the donor.
- The vaginal swabbing of Ms. Trotter at autopsy recovered unknown pubic hairs. DNA testing on the unknown pubic hairs excluded Larry Swearingen as the donor.
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Caution – contains pathological fotos!!!
Supplemental Briefing To Second Application For Writ Of Habeas Corpus
Or, In The Alternative, Petitioner’s Third Application For Writ Of Habeas Corpus Pursuant To Article 11.071 § 5 Of The Texas Code Of Criminal Procedure (pdf, 40 of 55 pages)
The last 15 pages of this briefing are not published on this site due to our respect for the victim and her family.
List of Exhibits (pdf, 2 pages)
Exhibit A: Affidavit of Former Harris County Medical Examiner, Joye M. Carter, M.D. (pdf, 3 pages)
October 31, 2007
Exhibit B: Autopsy Report (pdf, 8 pages)
January 3rd, 1999
Trial Testimony by Dr. Joye Carter (pdf, 29 (116) pages)
Exhibit E: Testimony of Current Harris County Chief Medical Examiner, Louis B. Sanchez (pdf, 18 pages)
July 2, 2007
Exhibit F: Addendum Report of forensic pathologist Glenn Larkin, M.D. (pdf, 6 pages)
October 1, 2007
Caution – contains pathological fotos!!!
Exhibit G: Affidavit of Deputy Tarrant County Medical Examiner Lloyd White, M.D. (pdf, 5 pages)
December 12, 2007
Exhibit Q: Original Affidavit from Ms. Dale Morris, Forensic Entomologist (pdf, 6 pages)
Exhibit R: Affidavit of Dael Morris (pdf, 2 pages)
March 29, 2007
Exhibit S: Report of Glenn Larkin, M.D. (pdf, 2 pages)
March 29, 2007
Exhibit T: Affidavit of Lloyd White, M.D. (pdf, 2 pages)
March 29, 2007
Original Affidavit from Dr. James Arends, Forensic Entomologist (pdf, 2 pages)
January 19, 2007
Supplemental Affidavit from Dr. James Arends, Forensic Entomologist (pdf, 6 pages)
March 26, 2007
State’s Notice Of Intent To Proceed On Affidavits (pdf, 2 pages)
also see Courier article by Lucretia Fernandez of June 21, 2008 on Swearingen’s news forum
“Autopsies by former examiner reviewed”
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: “Body Farm”
and the science of forensic anthropology