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Texas, Pennsylvania plan executions of convicted murderers

AUSTIN, Texas/PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Pennsylvania was planning its first execution in thirteen years on Thursday in the case of a man convicted of killing a teen-age girl, while Texas was scheduled to execute a man convicted of the 2002 murder of a woman during a burglary of her home.

Hubert Michael Jr., 56, who lost his bid for clemency before the Pennsylvania State Board of Pardons on Wednesday, pleaded guilty to the 1993 murder of 16-year-old Trista Eng.

Authorities say he grabbed Eng as she was walking home from her summer job at a fast-food restaurant in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, drove her to a remote area, shot her three times and hid her body.

He was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 7 p.m. (midnight GMT) at a state prison in Rockview.

Pennsylvania has not executed anyone since 1999.

Attorneys for Michael say he has Asperger's syndrome, a disorder that can cause sufferers to have trouble with social situations, be uncomfortable with changes in routine or have heightened sensitivities to certain situations.

The attorneys have tried to argue that Michael's disorder prevented him from accepting a life sentence he was originally offered.

In Texas, Mario Swain, 33, was convicted of murdering Lola Nixon, 44, during a 2002 burglary at her Longview home.

When Nixon returned home, he bludgeoned her with a tire tool, stabbed her and likely strangled her, according to an account by the Texas attorney general's office.

Swain put Nixon in the trunk of her car, drove her to a field and left her there barely conscious. He led investigators to an abandoned car with Nixon's body inside, the account said.

Investigators connected Swain to a truck parked on Nixon's street the night she went missing. Swain first accused two other men of the crime, but both had alibis.

Swain's execution by lethal injection is scheduled to take place after 6 p.m. CST (midnight GMT) at the state prison in Huntsville.

If it is carried out, Swain would be the 13th person executed in Texas this year

Thirty-six inmates have been executed this year in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

In Michael's case, attorneys were trying on Thursday to get a federal appeals court to halt the execution.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined on October 15 to review Swain's case.

(Reporting by Corrie MacLaggan and Dave Warner; Editing by Ian Simpson, Ellen Wulfhorst and Vicki Allen)

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