Melissa Lucio’s execution halted by Texas appeals court

Lawmakers, faith leaders and anti-domestic violence organizations have called for clemency, citing new evidence that has not been heard in court.

By Laurel Wamsley, NPRApril 25, 2022 12:45 pm,

Update: The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has halted Melissa Lucio’s execution, which had been scheduled for Wednesday.

From NPR:

Melissa Lucio is scheduled to be executed next week for a crime she says she didn’t commit — one that may not have even occurred. She was convicted 14 years ago of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Mariah, and a Texas jury sentenced her to death.

The state says Lucio beat her daughter to death. But as new details have emerged about her case, a growing chorus of lawmakers, faith leaders, anti-domestic violence organizations and celebrities has called for clemency. At least one juror from the trial says the jury wasn’t given the full picture — and that if he had known more, he would have never voted for the death penalty.

“No court has ever considered the new evidence of Melissa Lucio’s innocence,” says Vanessa Potkin, director of special litigation at the Innocence Project and one of Lucio’s attorneys. “So first and foremost, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals could issue a stay so that the evidence of Melissa Lucio’s innocence can be fully litigated in the court. And that’s what we’re hoping for.”

The case hinges on an interrogation of Lucio conducted two hours after Mariah died, during which officers tried to get Lucio to confess to hurting her daughter.