HUNTSVILLE, Texas (FOX 26) - A serial killer who terrorized the Houston area for years was set to die at 6 p.m. in Huntsville on Texas Death Row but Anthony Allen Shore's life has been spared for now.
A lot of people have waited a long time to see the 'Tourniquet Killer' put to death. Now, they'll have to wait even longer.
Shore, known for leaving a homemade strangulation device on his victims, was sentenced to death back in 2004 after murdering and raping four Houston girls and raping and attacking a 14-year-old girl who survived after he broke into her home.
Confusion over whether Shore murdered a fifth woman in Montgomery County has saved him from execution, at least for now.
"This has been a long, grueling, arduous journey for so many," says Houston victims rights advocate Andy Kahan.
After easily taking the lives of four young Houston girls from 1986 until 1995, Shore is now fighting hard to save his own life.
During trial proceedings in 2004, Shore asked to be put to death but then filed a flurry of appeals and put in petitions to the court claiming he shouldn't be put to death because he suffers a brain injury but Kahan says Shore should be shown the same mercy that he gave his victims. The youngest victim who was kidnapped, raped and strangled by Shore was only 9 years old.
"The horrific brutality of the murders, four young girls, 9, 14, 16, 21, just the sheer torture they had to go through," adds Kahan.
Just a couple of hours from ending the serial killer's life and the execution was halted. Shore told investigators that he, not fellow Texas death row inmate Larry Swearingen, killed Melissa Trotter in 1998, which caused Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon to request from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg that Shore be kept alive another thirty days so those claims could be investigated.
Shore then told another story saying that he promised Swearingen he would take the blame but now, Shore says he wants to tell the truth. He says he was only taking responsibility for the murder to get Swearingen off the hook.
"He sent law enforcement on a wild goose chase for nothing," says Kahan.
Shore's execution date and all that comes with it is causing the cost of his 'murderabilia' to skyrocket. That's what it is called when dealers sell things online like artwork and letters from death row inmates. Kahan shows one of Shore's drawings that was up for sale.
"One of the letters that’s posted up for sale right now basically says, 'the state of Texas is going to kill me soon and I really need a hug,' but this isn't about Anthony Allen Shore," explains Kahan. "This is about the four girls he killed."
Shore will get his day in the Texas death chamber with his execution rescheduled for Jan. 18, 2018, which is the next available date.
The murders of the Houston females, 15-year-old Laurie Tremblay, 21-year-old Maria Del Carmen Estrada, 9-year-old Diana Rebollar and 16-year-old Dana Sanchez went unsolved for years until 2003 after Shore was convicted of molesting his own daughters and DNA connected him to the murders.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office released the following statement on Wednesday:
Anthony Shore is a serial killer. A Harris County jury said he deserves to die.
In July of 2017, documents were discovered in Shore’s penitentiary cell related to the murder of Melissa Trotter in Montgomery County. Given Shore’s status as a serial killer, Shore’s possession of these documents generated the remote possibility that Shore had some kind of involvement in Trotter’s death.
In September of 2017, this office shared these documents with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, and the lawyer for Larry Swearingen, the individual convicted of murdering Melissa Trotter.
Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon requested a 30-day delay for Shore’s execution from Gov. Greg Abbott.
District Attorney Ligon asked this office, per the attached letter, to modify the execution order.
It is always the first responsibility of prosecutors to see that justice is done. Shore’s execution is inevitable, but in light of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s request, District Attorney Kim Ogg today filed a motion to withdraw today’s execution date and reset it to Jan. 18, 2018, the soonest legally available date.