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A jury found Shore guilty of the capital murder of Estrada in October 2004. After the guilty verdict was handed down, Shore asked his attorneys to accept the state's pursuit of the death penalty and to not present any mitigation evidence at his punishment hearing in an attempt to obtain a life sentence. The attorneys acceded to the request.
At his punishment hearing, Shore's wife and former girlfriends testified that he drugged and raped them, choked them while having sex, used drugs, and kept pornography of young girls.
The jury sentenced Shore to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in December 2007. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
Shore had previously been scheduled to be executed on 18 October 2017. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle published the day before, his sister, Gina Shore, said, "I know in my heart without a doubt that there are more ... There had to have been other girls." She and another sister, Laurel Scheel, were worried that he would receive a last-minute stay of execution by confessing to other cold-case murders.
Neither his sisters, his parents, or his daughters planned to attend the execution.
"Honestly, I have a biology and calculus lab that day, so I'm going to school," daughter Tiffany Hall said. "Maybe I'll see a movie later if I have free time."
Shore's other daughter, Amber, has not been heard from in years.
Unknown to his family or the media at the time, Shore had already played the additional confessions card. Days before his scheduled execution, he sent a letter to Texas governor Greg Abbott stating that his lawyer would provide information "regarding his commission of other murders" after his death.
Texas Rangers were sent to Livingston to interview Shore on Death Row. He stalled them at first, then ultimately confessed to the 1995 killing of Aurora Rojas in Polk County and another unsolved killing in Houston. According to the Rangers, elements of Rojas's killing did fit Shore's methods - for example, she was last spotted at a bus stop near his place of employment, and Shore had once been a suspect in the other murder. But, after conducting their investigation, the Rangers concluded that he did not commit either crime. They returned to Livingston to confront Shore, and he recanted.
"What an ass," Scheel said months later upon learning of her brother's attempt to manipulate authorities. "He wants to know it'll all go down with him pulling the strings. As long as he's in control, he's okay with dying."
"I am not shocked by his behavior," Hall said. "I'm just shocked anybody is listening to him."
Even though his attempt to buy time by writing a letter to the governor failed, he had another trick up his sleeve. At the time of his 18 October scheduled execution, another inmate, Larry Swearingen, from Montgomery County, was scheduled to be executed in November. On the day Shore was to be put to death, Brett Ligon, the Montgomery County district attorney, asked the Harris County District Attorney's Office to request a stay of execution. Ligon said that a folder was found in Shore's prison cell containing information - handwritten documents, court exhibits, and crime scene photographs - related to Swearingen's case and his victim, Melissa Trotter. Ligon believed Shore and Swearingen were in collusion and Shore intended to confess to Trotter's killing.
Authorities also suspected Shore of planning to confess to Trotter's murder based on a Montgomery County investigator's interview with a woman who visited Shore on Death Row.
The Harris County District Attorney's office complied with Ligon's request, and the judge granted Shore a 90-day stay of execution.
Assistant Harris County District Attorney Tom Berg stated that the Texas Rangers interviewed Shore after the stay was granted. Berg said Shore admitted he had "nothing to do" with Trotter's murder. He said he and Swearingen became friends in prison and had at one time contemplated taking the fall for him, but they had since "parted ways." He still, however, maintained that Swearingen is innocent.
Swearingen's scheduled execution in November was not carried out because of a filing error.
Prior to Shore's 18 January execution, Laura Scheel was more confident that her brother's death sentence would be carried out. "I think it'll happen this time," she said. "But who knows - we're talking about Tony Shore."
When the reporter asked if she still thought her brother killed anyone else, she answered, "Hell, yeah."
Shore was apologetic in his last statement at his execution. "No amount of words or apology could ever undo what I've done," he said, his voice cracking with emotion. His lips and chin also quivered. "To the family of my victims, I wish I could undo the past, but it is what it is." Shore also wished happy birthday to one of his friends and thanked his supporters.
"God bless everybody, until we meet again." he said in conclusion. "I'm ready, warden."
After the lethal injection began, Shore said, "Oooh-ee! I can feel that," saying that it burned. He then lost consciousness. He was pronounced dead at 6:28 p.m.
"Anthony Allen Shore's reign of terror is officially over," Houston crime victim's advocate Andy Kahan said to a group assembled outside the Huntsville prison.
Shore's execution was the first one in the United States to be carried out in 2018.
By David Carson. Posted on 19 January 2018.
Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, court documents, abc13.com, Associated Press, Austin Chronicle, Houston Chronicle.