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Death Row Killer Says He Feels Lethal Injection 'Burning' In Final Words

Death Row Killer Says He Feels Lethal Injection 'Burning' In Final Words

A death row killer said he could feel his arm burning as he had the lethal injection after being convicted of raping and murdering a teenage girl.

Larry Swearingen, 48, maintained he was innocent until the very end of his life. He said he could feel and hear the injection used to kill him.

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Before his execution, he said: "Lord forgive them. They don't know what they are doing."

As the lethal dose of the drug pentobarbital began to circulate in his system, he said he could 'hear it' going into a vein in his arm. He then said he could taste it.

Swearingen is the 12th person to be executed in the US in 2019. Credit: PA
Swearingen is the 12th person to be executed in the US in 2019. Credit: PA

His final words were: "It's actually burning in my right arm. I don't feel anything in the left arm."

He was pronounced dead at 6.47pm local time on Wednesday (21 August) in the Texas state penitentiary in Huntsville.

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Swearingen was convicted and sentenced to death in 2000 for the abduction, rape and murder of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter.

Trotter had disappeared on 8 December 1998, but her body was discovered 25 days later in woods in the Sam Houston National Forest, around 30 miles north of where she went missing.

The woodland where Melissa Trotter's body was found. Credit: www.fs.usda.gov
The woodland where Melissa Trotter's body was found. Credit: www.fs.usda.gov

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She was found with a piece of pantyhose around her neck.

Swearingen's trial was based largely on witness testimony, phone records and evidence found in his house and truck which prosecutors argued linked him to Melissa's death - including the other half of pantyhose, which was said to belong to Swearingen's wife.

His lawyers pointed out both during the trial and through a series of appeals that DNA evidence under Trotter's fingernails came from another man. This was disputed, with prosecutors suggesting that the evidence could have been contaminated.

Melissa Trotter went missing in 1998.  Credit: Police handout
Melissa Trotter went missing in 1998. Credit: Police handout

Experts also testified that Trotter's body at the time showed she must have died when Swearingen was already in custody on other charges.

He is the fourth inmate to have been executed in the state of Texas this year.

In a final statement released to The Washington Post, Swearingen said: "Today the State of Texas murdered an innocent man.

"Many people participated in my demise."

He said he had made 'a lot of stupid mistakes' as a youth which put himself in the 'perfect position to be framed for murder,' and wanted to be the 'catalyst to change the insane legal system of Texas'.

He added "I am now one of God's sacrificial lambs.

"And hopefully people will use my example to help keep others from experiencing this dreadful and wrongful persecution."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Death Row, US News

Amelia Ward

Amelia is a journalist at LADbible. After studying journalism at Liverpool John Moores and Salford Uni (don't ask), she went into PR and then the world of music. After a few years working on festivals and events, she went back to her roots. In her spare time, Amelia likes music, Liverpool FC, and spending good, quality time with her cat, Paul. You can contact Amelia at [email protected]