Attorneys involved in the Feb. 27 hearing of convicted killer Larry Ray Swearingen will meet Monday morning to discuss details of his return to court.
The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday in the 9th state District Court of Judge Fred Edwards.
Swearingen, 40, was sentenced to death in 2000 for the abduction and murder of 19-year-old college student Melissa Trotter. Her body was found Jan. 2, 1999, in the Sam Houston National Forest, 25 days after she was last seen leaving the Lone Star College-Montgomery campus off Texas 242.
Swearingen was scheduled to die in Huntsville by lethal injection on Aug. 18, 2011, but the state Court of Criminal Appeals ruled his petition met the requirements for another hearing.
Swearingen contends forensic evidence made it impossible for him to be at the crime scene. The appeals court agreed Swearingen could not have advanced that claim in January 2009. It also ruled the hearing will address an alleged error of testimony by a pathologist.
It was Swearingen’s third stay of execution. He previously received stays in 2007 and 2009.
The meeting Monday is designed for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and Swearingen’s defense team “to discuss the scope of evidence” that will be presented Feb. 27, said Assistant District Attorney Bill Delmore of the appellate division.
“This will not be an evidentiary hearing,” Delmore said. “We want to make sure we’re all on the same page when it comes to experts.”
In October, Edwards appointed Conroe attorney Steve Jackson to represent Swearingen during next month’s hearing.
Jackson said the other two members of Swearingen’s legal team, James Rytting and Philip Hilder, are excellent tort attorneys, and Jackson has spent the past few months getting up to speed on the case.
“What I’ve learned is that their evidence makes it impossible for Mr. Swearingen to have committed the crime when the prosecution said it did,” Jackson said.