Hours before his execution, Anthony Shore was granted a stay after he claimed another death row inmate tried to persuade him to confess to a murder he did not commit.
Known as the “Tourniquet Killer”, Shore said that fellow inmate Larry Ray Swearingen convinced him to take responsibility for the murder of Melissa Trotter, the crime Swearingen sits on death row for.
Shore told chief investigator Chris Smith and assistant chief investigator John Stephenson that he had a change of heart on the eve of his execution, and decided to tell the truth and expose Swearingen’s scheme.
The district attorney from Montgomery County, Brett Ligion, sent a plea to Gov. Greg Abbott and Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, asking for more time to look into the rumors.
“This office is in possession of evidence suggesting that Shore has conspired with death row inmate Larry Ray Swearingen and intends to falsely claim responsibility for the capital murder of Melissa Trotter – the crime in which Swearingen is currently scheduled to be executed on November 16, 2017,” Ligon said in the letter.
In an interview, Shore had agreed to the request to try to exonerate Swearingen. He said Swearingen gave him a hand-drawn map of the location where Swearingen left physical evidence of the murder of Trotter. Swearingen has asserted his innocence many times.
The stay was granted in order to allow Ligon to complete an investigation of the materials found in Shore’s cell.
A Montgomery County investigator also interviewed a death row visitor, who said Shore told her he murdered Trotter and would not let Swearingen be executed for it.
“We remain absolutely certain of Swearingen’s guilt of Melissa Trotter’s murder, but permitting Shore to claim responsibility for that crime after his execution would leave a cloud over the judicial proceedings in Swearingen’s case,” Ligon wrote.
Although Ogg filed a motion to withdraw Shore’s execution date after receiving Ligon’s request, she said in a statement that his execution is still inevitable.
Shore’s new execution date is set for January 18, 2018.