Why Are They Going To Execute Melissa Lucio?

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(WABNEWS Spanish) — Melissa Lucio, the only Hispanic woman on Texas death row, is scheduled to be executed this April 27 after being convicted of allegedly killing her two-year-old daughter more than a decade ago. Here, the keys to the case.

melissa lucio was charged with capital murder and sentenced to death after the death of her daughter Mariah in February 2007 at her home. Now, when there are only a few days left before her execution, calls are multiplying not to continue with the process, arguing that the sentence was unjust and that the girl died after accidentally falling down a staircase.


Cause of death: head trauma

The medical examiner evaluating the case at the time said Mariah was a “battered child” who died of head trauma.

The ER doctor who tried to revive Mariah after the family called 911 the day the girl died also said it was the “worst” case of child abuse he had seen in his career and that the injuries could not have been caused by a fall down the stairs.

Melissa Lucio holds her daughter Mariah, while one of her other daughters, Adriana, stands next to them.

Prosecutors in the case told jurors they could “draw conclusions from the evidence,” pointing to Mariah’s other injuries and arguing that if Lucio had abused her daughter in the past, it would be “consistent with his behavior” to cause the injuries that caused his death.

A clemency petition filed by Lucio specifically addresses the issue of bruising, stating that there are scientific explanations for Mariah’s severe bruising. For that they quote medical experts who say there were indications that the girl suffered from a blood clotting disorder known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, or DIC, which could explain her bruising.

What happened the day Melissa Lucio’s daughter died, according to the defense

Lucio got up on February 15, 2007, got some of his children ready for school, and then packed things from his “dilapidated second-floor apartment” because the family was in the process of moving, the petition says. of mercy.

In the meantime, he did his best to keep an eye on Mariah, who had trouble walking and was prone to falling due to a mild physical handicap, according to court records. But while Lucio was busy, Mariah opened a screen door, stepped outside and fell down a “steep” flight of more than a dozen steps.

Lucio realized almost immediately that Mariah was missing and found her outside, crying. Her lip was bleeding, but she did not appear to be seriously injured.

But her appearance was deceiving: the girl had just suffered internal injuries that, according to the petition, would lead to her death. The next two days, during a family move, Mariah’s condition deteriorated: she slept too much and eventually refused to eat. On February 17, Lucio considered taking the two-year-old to the doctor, but he preferred to wait until the next day and put Mariah down for a nap.

Soon, Mariah stopped breathing and the family called 911. Paramedics at the scene and at the hospital tried to revive her, but were unsuccessful.

His body was covered in bruises “in various stages of healing,” his arm had been broken several weeks earlier, and he had a bite mark on his back, according to court documents recounting the case.

Texas death row inmate Melissa Lucio, dressed in white, prays April 6 with Texas lawmakers at the Mountain View unit in Gatesville, Texas.

The “critical” misunderstanding, according to his defense

At the scene, Lucio told paramedics that Mariah had fallen down the stairs days earlier, but one of the first responders was skeptical, according to the clemency petition, because the residence was one story with a few steps. in front. He did not understand, the petition says, that the girl had fallen in the family’s previous home.

“This critical misunderstanding set in motion a biased investigation,” Lucio’s petition says, “in which investigators continually assumed the worst about Melissa without investigating or considering alternatives.”

Lucio, now 53, was convicted largely, according to her lawyers, on the basis of a coerced “confession” she gave authorities in an “aggressive” overnight interrogation the same night her daughter died.

The woman — who had 12 children at the time of Mariah’s death and later gave birth to twins while in prison — was especially susceptible to coercion by authorities due to her record as a lifelong survivor of sexual abuse and violence. domestic, they say, citing medical experts who reviewed her case.

Melissa Lucio with her son John, in an undated photo

plea for mercy

Lucio’s attorneys are pleading for leniency, asking the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend to Texas Governor Greg Abbott either commutation of his sentence before his execution or a pardon of at least 120 days to review the evidence. which, according to them, will prove their innocence.

Plea for clemency has increased in recent days, including from Texas lawmakers of both parties and celebrities like Kim Kardashian. The children are also campaigning.

But perhaps most importantly, at least five of the jurors who convicted Lucio have spoken out calling for the execution to be stopped, citing evidence they’ve never heard before.

With information from Dakin Andone.



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