Mario Rashad Swain, 33, was executed by lethal injection on 8 November 2012 in Huntsville, Texas for murdering a woman while burglarizing her home.
On 27 December 2002 in Longview, east of Dallas, Lola Nixon, 44, made plans to have dinner with Deborah Hancock and her husband. She never arrived at the restaurant. After dinner, Hancock stopped by Nixon's house on Iris Circle with a carry-out package. She knocked on the door and received no answer, so she left the food at the front door.
That same evening, one of Nixon's neighbors reported a truck parked outside a vacant house on the block. A police officer was dispatched. He noted the license number of the truck and stayed for about a half hour. Seeing no unusual activity, he left.
The next day, Hancock called the police after being unable to locate Nixon. Officers went to her home and discovered evidence of forced entry. They found blood throughout the house, but did not find her.
Investigators contacted the owner of the truck that was seen on Iris Circle the previous night. He told them that his grandson, Mario Swain, had been using it.
Detective Terry Davis spoke with Swain, then 23, on the phone, and Swain agreed to meet with him at his workplace, a residential treatment home. When Davis and Detective Jim Nelson arrived for the meeting, the truck was parked in the driveway. The detectives asked Swain why his truck was seen on Iris Circle the night before. He told them he went riding with a friend and ended up parking his truck there.
Upon further questioning, Swain admitted participating in a burglary. He said he and Casey Porter broke into a house on Iris Circle. When the owner came home, Porter attacked her. They then put the woman, who was unconscious but alive, in the trunk of her black BMW and drove her to a remote location near the airport and left her there. He agreed to take the detectives to the place where he said he and Porter left her. He directed them to a field where they discovered bloody grass, a black trash bag, and a piece of a tire jack, but no victim.
The detectives took Swain in handcuffs to the Longview Police Department and questioned him some more. He gave a written statement, wherein he again admitted burglarizing the home, but repeated his claim that Porter alone assaulted her. The police arrested Porter, but discovered that he had an alibi.
Police told Swain about Porter's alibi and then obtained another written statement from him. This time, he gave essentially the same story except said that the assailant was Brian Woods. Police questioned Woods and found that he, too, had an alibi.
Swain was then charged with burglary. He led two other detectives to a vehicle containing Nixon's body, near the location where he had taken Detectives Davis and Nelson. Nixon had been beaten on the head and stabbed in the chest. The medical examiner later testified that the cause of death was sharp force injuries, blunt force injuries, and probable strangulation.
Swain was taken back to the police station, where he gave a third written statement. This time, he confessed to committing the burglary on his own. He stated that when Nixon returned home, they struggled and he ended up hitting her with a tire tool. He placed her in the trunk of her car, drove her to a field, and left here there. He stated that when he left, she was breathing, but barely conscious. He then returned to her home and stole money, jewelry, and some credit cards.
Police subsequently found the tire tool in a trash container where Swain said he had thrown it. They also searched his truck and found clothing with Nixon's blood on it, Nixon's car keys, and garage door opener. He had given some of her jewelry to Brian Woods, one of the friends he tried to blame for the killing.
Kristie Anderson, who lived with Swain from February 2002 until the time of his arrest, testified that on 27 December, the day of Nixon's murder, she found a piece of paper in their apartment with the name "Lola Nixon" and the phrase "Sitel girl" in parentheses. Both Nixon and Swain had previously worked at Sitel, a business in Longview. That paper also had an address and a license plate number written on it. Anderson testified that Swain kept other pieces of paper in the apartment with names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers, and descriptions of vehicles. She also testified that Swain kept a bottle in their apartment containing a substance "you could knock somebody out with."
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