Melissa Lucio: Texas woman on death row receives bipartisan support for clemency from state officials

Lawyers for Melissa Lucio, who is on death row, have filed a clemency petition with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, according to a statement from the Innocence Project, which represents Lucio.

“We are here to prevent an irreversible injustice, the execution of Melissa Lucio by the government, because if we don’t do it, if the state executes her despite all the overwhelming evidence that points to her innocence, her execution will be a stain on the morality of our state. said Democratic state Rep. Victoria Neave Criado, who attended the rally at Dallas City Hall.

Lucio, now 53, received the death sentence after a jury found her guilty of capital murder in the death of her daughter, Mariah, in February 2007. Her execution is scheduled for April 27.

According to authorities, first responders arrived at a home and found the boy unresponsive and later dead.

However, according to the clemency petition, investigators “spotted Melissa as a suspect” when Mariah stopped breathing on the night of February 17, 2007, “days after she fell down a steep flight of stairs.”

“Convinced that Mariah’s injuries must have resulted from abuse, not an accident, they sought evidence to confirm their assumptions and discarded evidence that corroborated witness accounts of Mariah’s fall and her deteriorating health in the days that followed.” the documents say.

Lucio’s lawyers argue that investigators were convinced a crime had occurred and “focused on Melissa as the alleged abuser.”

Criado and six other state representatives visited Lucio Wednesday at the Mountainview Prison Unit for Women in Gatesville, Texas.

“Waiting, there is the mother, a Latina, a Tejana (Texan) – Melissa Lucio, dressed in white, praying and waiting and waiting for word that she will not be executed on April 27, 2022,” Criado said.

Republican state Rep. Jeff Leach echoed Criado’s defense, saying he was “honored” to support Lucio’s clemency through bipartisanship with other state elected officials and that there is still time to “ensure justice is served.”

“Amidst the darkness of death row and her own impending execution, Melissa radiated deep, sincere joy and indescribable hope,” Leach said in a statement to CNN. “Without a doubt, Melissa’s case is the most disturbing and shocking death penalty case I have ever seen. The system literally failed her every time.”

Lucio’s attorney, Vanessa Potkin, said the bipartisan support is encouraging.

“The new evidence of innocence in Ms. Lucio’s case has never been examined by any court or judge and our hope is that Governor Abbott or a court will step in to stop what would be an irreversible injustice if the execution goes ahead,” Potkin told CNN. in a sentence.

According to the lawyers, new evidence shows that Lucio, a victim of sexual abuse and domestic violence, was wrongfully convicted of the accidental death of his daughter and that his confession was coerced.

The clemency petition seeks the commutation of Lucio’s death sentence to a lesser sentence or a 120-day reprieve from his execution.

Lucio’s case has gained national attention in recent years and was the subject of a documentary, “The State of Texas vs. Melissa,” which aired on Hulu.

CNN has reached out to Abbott’s office, the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles for comment.

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