"Guilt by Imagination"
(Update: The Fifth Circuit Court has issued a stay of execution for Swearingen. It can't be said that the petition, which was sent to Perry's office and not the 5th Circuit, had anything to do with this. But I thank those who took the time to send a copy, anyway.)
Go here and sign this petition. Do it now. Why? Because an innocent man's life hangs in the balance.
When I see stories that are covered by giant sites like Firedoglake and Democratic Underground (Yeah, I have registered accounts at both places. Shh) on the same day, I tend to look more closely at that story.
This particular story is about Larry Swearingen, who's on Death Row in Texas for murdering a college coed in 1998. Four pathologists who have done the requisite scientific spade work have sworn that, in their opinion, Larry Swearingen couldn't possibly have killed the girl because he was in prison.
The victim, Melissa Trotter, was dumped in the Sam Houston National Forest in East Texas. Her "curiously preserved body" led authorities conclude that it had lain in the woods for longer than it actually was, which was before Swearingen went to jail on minor traffic violations. In fact, this is apparently all the evidence Texas prosecutors need to send you to Death Row:
Prosecutors disagree, saying compelling evidence ties Swearingen to the crime, including a match between the panty hose leg found around Trotter's neck and the stocking remnant found in a trash dump next to Swearingen's mobile home. Also, hair and fibers show Trotter had been in Swearingen's truck and mobile home.
Yeah, you read that right. Bullshit circumstantial evidence that doesn't even tie you to the scene of the crime much less the actual commission of the crime is enough to kill you even if you were already behind bars at the time of the murder. Swearingen's appellate attorney rightly calls this "guilt by imagination."
Swearingen is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday. The petition sends an email directly to Governor Rick Perry and those in the Texas Board of Appeals. Do the right thing and get this man a new trial, starting with getting his execution stayed.