In less than three weeks, Melissa Lucio is scheduled to be executed by Texas for the killing of her two-year-old daughter, despite overwhelming evidence her daughter died after a fall down the stairs.
Last week, seven Texas legislators visited Lucio on death row to pray with her and assure her they were doing what they could to stop her execution, AP reports. State Rep. Joe Moody told AP that while still maintaining her innocence, Lucio seemed at peace, and “Our prayer uplifted those who are going to make decisions regarding her life and that felt very fitting.”
Lucio is scheduled to be executed on April 27, convicted of the accidental death of her two-year-old daughter, Mariah, in 2007.
Lucio, now 53, was pregnant with twins and already the mother of 12 children at the time of Mariah’s death. She had no record of violence, and thousands of pages of reports by Child Protective Services had never indicated that she abused her children. Nevertheless, she was subjected to a five-hour, late-night aggressive interrogation by armed, male investigators that didn’t end until she broke down and told them what they wanted to hear: “I guess I did it. I’m responsible.”
Armed with her false confession, then-Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos, up for reelection, prosecuted Lucio for capital murder. (Villalobos is now serving a 13-year federal prison sentence for bribery and extortion.)
Lucio’s trial attorneys were reportedly ill-prepared for the penalty phase of her trial. As a result, the jury never heard the extent of Lucio’s history of child sexual abuse and domestic violence and how it affected her behavior after Mariah’s death. The jury found Lucio guilty of capital murder.
Last month, lawyers for Melissa Lucio submitted a clemency application to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole. And a bipartisan majority of legislators in the Texas House asked state officials to halt her execution.
Hundreds of Texas anti-domestic violence groups, faith leaders, Latino organizations, exonerees of wrongful convictions, and Melissa’s children also filed letters urging the Board and the Governor to grant Lucio clemency.
Please add your voice to the effort to stop Texas from killing Melissa Lucio later this month. Click here for suggestions on how you can help. Thank you.