A state district judge has withdrawn next month's execution date for a 41-year-old convicted killer who now has avoided the Texas death chamber four times.
Judge Kelly Case ordered Wednesday that Larry Swearingen's scheduled Feb. 27 lethal injection be put off indefinitely and cleared the way for DNA testing in his case.
Swearingen is on death row for the 1998 abduction, rape and strangling of a 19-year-old Montgomery County community college student. His attorneys, who include lawyers from The Innocence Project, contend he didn't kill Melissa Trotter and say DNA testing of evidence never tested would support their contention.
Montgomery County prosecutors insist Swearingen is guilty and say they've offered to do testing immediately. They accuse Swearingen's attorneys of aiming only to delay punishment.