Analyst: Right decisions were made in Swearingen, McCarthy cases
A pair of executions were postponed at the last second in Texas this week.
Kimberly McCarthy, who was sentenced to death for the 1997 murder of a retired teacher, got a reprieve just hours before she was scheduled to receive a lethal injection.
And Larry Swearingen's February execution for the 1999 murder of Melissa Trotter has been delayed. Swearingen was scheduled for execution on February 27th. Legal analyst Christ Tritico tells KTRH in both cases, the right decisions were made.
“On both of these cases I think the stay of execution was appropriate,” Tritico stated.
Tritico believes both cases have very complicated issues that need to be resolved. In the Swearingen case, defense attorneys believe DNA testing will prove that he was not Trotter’s murderer. And McCarthy’s lawyers are hoping for a new trial based on the makeup of the jury that convicted her.
“These are very important issues that the courts need to resolve before they can determine if the execution needs to go forward,” Tritico said.
Tritico says the state has to make sure they get it right.
“Before we exact the ultimate punishment on anyone we need to take whatever time is necessary to ensure that we have convicted the right person,” Tritico explained.
Swearingen defense lawyer Bryce Benjet of the Innocence Project told KTRH he's happy his client will get one more chance to prove he is innocent.
“We have filed a motion for DNA testing, asking for the court to order testing of certain items that have never been tested before that could conclusively prove guilt or innocence,” Benjet said.
Warren Diepraam of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office says D-A Brett Ligon is considering what their next move will be. He also indicated they did not expect the ruling that came down from Judge Kelly Case.
“One of our possible moves could be to appeal the judge’s order denying our request for immediate DNA testing,” Diepraam said.