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Texas Death Row Inmate’s Execution Halted

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Melissa Lucio posing for a portrait behind glass at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas on March 21, 2022. Image by Ilana Panich-Linsman, The Innocence Project

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The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has postponed Texas death row inmate Melissa Lucio’s execution by granting her a stay and returning her case to the trial court for consideration of fresh evidence.

Texas State Representative Jeff Leach announced the news via Twitter.

“Just received word the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has granted a stay of [Melissa Lucio’s] execution — remanding vital issues back to the trial court and securing justice for Melissa and for Mariah and the entire Lucio family,” said Leach. “Praise God!”

Lucio’s execution was set for this upcoming Wednesday, but the Innocence Project, Congress members, celebrities, and even a few of the jurors who sentenced her to death came out in favor of her case.

People took to Twitter to react to the news.

“FINALLY the right thing has happened,” said Twitter user Jamie Zapata. “Now we need a new trial.”

Another user, Bernice Flood, tweeted, “Where’s the justice for Mariah??!!!” speaking on Lucio’s daughter.

As reported by The Dallas Express, the Texas mother is accused of killing her 2-year-old child.

Mariah Lucio fell down a flight of stairs outside her apartment on February 15, 2007, as the family was in the process of moving. She died two days later.

According to an autopsy, the cause of the child’s death was blunt force injuries to the head. During her examination, Mariah was found to be seriously bruised, according to court filings. Investigators began to suspect child abuse.

Lucio’s attorneys believe that five hours of questioning pressured her into admitting to killing her child. 

Lucio has been on Texas death row for 14 years, and throughout this time, she has continued to claim her innocence. She was denied a new trial in 2019 by the State of Texas.

It is unclear when the lower court will hear her case.

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