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News Scan

TX Appeals Court Denies DNA Testing in Death Penalty Case: The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has reversed a lower court ruling announcing that death row inmate, 43-year-old Larry Swearingen, should be entitled to DNA testing prior to his execution.  UPI reports that the Court of Criminal Appeals disagreed with the lower court after deciding there was no material left to test or that results from a DNA test could have resulted in a reversal of his conviction.  Swearingen was sentenced in 2000 for the 1998 kidnapping, rape, and murder of a 19-year-old college student.

Serial Killer Named as Suspect in Cold Case: Authorities have announced they believe that the person responsible for the 1989 disappearance and murder of a Florida college student is convicted serial killer, 64-year-old Paul Rowles.  Fox News reports that Rowles was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for a rape and murder he committed in 1972, but was released just four years later after completing a sex offender program.  Rowles was later convicted of kidnapping and raping a teenager in 1994 and was given a 19-year sentence.  While Rowles was in prison, authorities linked him to the cold case murders of Florida college students, Elizabeth Foster and Tiffany Sessions.  Rowles died in prison from cancer last year.  His diary may offer clues in other unsolved homicides.

Orange County Supervisors Reject Jail Release Plan: Members of the Orange County, CA Board of Supervisors have turned down a plan that would have allowed felons to be released from jail early and placed on electronic monitoring, citing concern for public safety.  Jill Cowan of the LA Times reports that the plan, which was presented as a way to alleviate overcrowding in county jails caused by Realignment, would have been an addition to an existing policy which allows inmates serving time for misdemeanors to be released on electronic monitoring. The proposal would have included so called "low-risk" felons who were deemed non-violent.

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