Tonight’s Execution: Mario Swain, TX

Only two days after a death penalty repeal measure failed in California, two states were preparing to move ahead with executions tonight, with the lethal injection of Mario Swain in Texas and Hubert Michael in Pennsylvania. However, Michael received a stay Thursday afternoon, and will not be executed this evening. According to Swain’s attorney, no late attempts were made to block his execution.

This handout photo provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows Mario Swain. Swain is set for execution Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012 for the slaying 46-year-old Lola Nixon in Dec. 2002 in Longview, Texas. (AP Photo/ Texas Department of Public Safety)

This handout photo provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows Mario Swain. Swain is set for execution Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012 for the slaying 46-year-old Lola Nixon in Dec. 2002 in Longview, Texas. (AP Photo/ Texas Department of Public Safety)

Swain was sentenced to death for the beating, stabbing and strangling of Lola Nixon a decade ago. Nixon’s friends became worried when she had failed to show up for dinner the night before, so they went to her house to check on her. Upon arrival, they found blood and evidence of a home invasion.

Police interviewed neighbors who said they had seen a young man there in a truck that was identified as belonging to Swain’s grandfather. He said he had let Swain borrow it. Swain agreed to talk to police and implicated two of his friends, who he said had attacked Nixon while they were robbing the home. However, those two men had credible alibis.

Swain eventually confessed, saying Nixon had come home while he was burglarizing the house and that he beat her to death with a tire iron. He led officers to her body, which was abandoned in the trunk of her car in a field.

“Unless you knew where you were going, you wouldn’t get there,” Lance Larison, a prosecutor at Swain’s 2004 trial, said in an Associated Press report.

Evidence tied Swain to the crime: Nixon’s blood was found on Swain’s clothing in the truck and Swain had used Nixon’s credit cards. Police also found the tire iron in the trash bin where Swain said he had thrown it.

At trial, prosecutors called Swain a “serial killer in training,” detailing how he enjoyed watching crime and detective shows, kept a list of license plates of local cars and began collecting details on the women he wanted to rob, before attacking them.

“Not only did he stalk, he started making physical assaults,” Larison told the Associated Press.

Swain was sentenced to death after a three-day trial. Since then, his attorneys filed appeals arguing that his right to due process was violated at trial, that his trial attorneys were ineffective and that there were problems with the jury selection. However, all of those appeals were denied by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review Swain’s case three weeks ago.

Swain declined to speak to the media in the weeks leading up to his execution date.

Swain was the 489th person executed in Texas since the death penalty was reinstated, and the 13th execution in the state in 2012. There are two more Texas executions scheduled for next week.

According to the Washington Post, “Swain was asked by a warden if he had a final statement before his punishment. The condemned prisoner shook his head, closed his eyes and took several barely audible breaths.”

Swain was pronounced dead 30 minutes later, at 6:39 p.m. CST.

Related Reading:

‘Serial Killer in Training’ Set to Die for 2002 Fatal Beating, Stabbing, Strangling in Texas

Two More Executions Set for November

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3 thoughts on “Tonight’s Execution: Mario Swain, TX

  1. Rob Burford says:

    The texas execution machine trundles on,Once you have the right to kill people, the voters start expecting semi-regular bloodshed as proof that you’re doing your job, creating incentives for prosecutors and politicians to cut corners to get those voter-pleasing cadaver numbers up. Each new generation of prosecutors and politicians feels pressure to “best” their predecessor in the number of executions carried out, lest they face accusations of being soft on crime. Which explains why they soon find themselves where Rick Perry stands, having executed 251 people,well Mr Mario Swain,you forgot those immortal words..”Dont mess with Texas” Rob B. England

  2. zin says:

    Attempts WERE made to stop Swain’s execution. The decisions are on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals website.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for that resource Zin. I believe the key word there was “late” attempts, as in last-minute, day-of sort of filings. There was of course over time the usual string of appeals, which I detailed in the post.

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