04 Mar, 2012
In his 12 years on death row, Larry Swearingen’s execution date has been set three times. Three times he has known when he would be strapped to a stretcher and put down with drugs: sodium thiobarbital to anaesthetise him, pancuronium bromide to paralyse his muscles and potassium chloride to stop his heart.
In January 2009, he had written his goodbyes and was on his way to the chamber when the stay of execution came through. ”The way I had to look at it was, ‘I’m just gonna lay down and go to sleep,”’ he says. ”I wasn’t gonna grovel. I wasn’t gonna sit there and cry. I can’t be remorseful for a crime that I didn’t commit.”
Swearingen lives at the Allan B. Polunsky unit, an hour or so north of Houston. Along with another 292 men and 10 women awaiting execution for capital crimes committed in Texas, he is kept in solitary confinement. His cell is not quite four metres long and a little more than two metres wide, with a slit above head height, more a vent than a window. He has a toilet, a typewriter, a radio and a hotplate. His daily hour of recreation is spent alone, although he can talk and play chess, through gaps between the cells. Most of his companions are here because they have committed horrendous acts of violence.
Full story here.