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6th request for stay of execution denied for convicted killer Larry Ray Swearingen
Montgomery County, Texas
   
 
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By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter, Cory McCord - Digital News Editor

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas - Larry Ray Swearingen's sixth request for a stay of his execution was denied Friday, according to authorities.

Swearingen's execution is scheduled for Wednesday. He has avoided lethal injection five times.

Swearingen was convicted of the 1998 kidnapping and murder of 19-year-old college student Melissa Trotter, of Willis.

The crime

On Dec. 8, 1998, Melissa Trotter, 19, disappeared from what is now the Lone Star College campus near The Woodlands. Swearingen was arrested on outstanding traffic warrants on Dec. 11. Prosecutors said he initially became a suspect because surveillance video showed Swearingen talking with Trotter at the North Shore Marina two days before her disappearance, when the pair made lunch plans. Court records said Swearingen was seen with Trotter on campus the day she disappeared. Investigators said Trotter's car remained on campus the day she disappeared. Trotter's body was found in the Sam Houston National Forest on Jan. 2, 1999. A memorial plaque to Trotter remains on the campus.

Prosecutors said friends of Trotter initially told investigators about Swearingen.

"They notified police (and said), 'Hey, we saw Melissa talking with this guy. This is what he looked like. This is what his truck looked like,'" said Kelly Blackburn, trial bureau chief for the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.

"Why did he kill her?" Channel 2 investigative reporter Robert Arnold asked Blackburn.

"Because she wouldn't have sex with him," Blackburn said.

See a timeline here.

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