Texas killer's execution delayed over possible additional confession

By Sara Shayanian and Danielle Haynes  |  Oct. 18, 2017 at 8:36 PM
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Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Texas officials rescheduled the execution of Anthony Shore hours before he was set to die over rumors he may plan to confess to another murder.

The Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon asked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Harris County district attorney to hold off on the execution. Shore, 55, was scheduled to die after 6 p.m., the Texas Tribune reported.

"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 for which Swearingen is currently scheduled to be executed on November 16, 2017," Ligon said in a letter to Abbott.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, who rescheduled Shore's execution for Jan. 18, said his execution is "inevitable."

Ligon's letter said a Montgomery County investigator interviewed one of Shore's visitors on death row, who said Shore told her he killed Trotter and didn't want Swearingen to be executed for it. But investigators don't believe the story.

"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 said.

Shore, known as the "Tourniquet Killer," was convicted and sentenced to death in 2004 after confessing to the murders of four women between the ages of 9 and 21 in the 1980s and 1990s.

Shore's killing spree began with 14-year-old Laurie Tremblay in 1986, followed by Maria del Carmen Estrada, 21, in 1992. Nine-year-old Diana Rebollar followed in 1994 and 16-year-old Diana Sanchez a year later.

One teenage girl managed to escape after he attacked her in her home in 1993.

Shore -- who was on probation for the sexual assault of two young family members -- told authorities during interrogation that he had an "evilness" in him that he believed could be released through killing people and that he would feel better after killing.

Prosecutors used DNA evidence to link Shore to one of the crimes.

Shore's defense team attempted to cite a traumatic brain injury he sustained in a 1981 car crash as a reason to stop the execution -- arguing that people with brain injuries have decreased reasoning skills and culpability.

Appeals courts rejected that argument.

"His crimes were predatory, and his victims the most vulnerable in society - women and children," Ogg said after his execution date was set.

"For his brutal acts, the death penalty is appropriate."

Topics: Greg Abbott
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