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Texas parole board to decide today on clemency for mom-of-14 facing execution over death of daughter

A Texas lady who claims she falsely pleaded responsible to killing her two-year-old daughter in 2007 will be taught today if the parole board needs to proceed along with her controversial execution.

Melissa Lucio, 53, is about to be executed Wednesday for the death of Mariah, one of her 14 youngsters, in Harlingen, a metropolis of about 75,000 in Texas’ southern tip.

Her authorized workforce claims her confession was compelled in a grueling five-hour interrogation carried out simply hours after she came upon her daughter had died, whereas pregnant with twins, and got here after she denied the allegations greater than 100 occasions. 

Lawyers from the Innocence Project have filed a clemency application to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles which is about to contemplate her case today by 1.30pm CT. 

They will make a advice to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott who has till Wednesday 6pm to intervene in what could be the primary Latina ever executed by Texas and the primary lady the state has put to death since 2014. 

Melissa Lucio (pictured center) bows her head in prayer during a session with State Representative Jeff Leach in prison this month

Melissa Lucio (pictured heart) bows her head in prayer throughout a session with State Representative Jeff Leach in jail this month

She is set to be executed Wednesday for the death of Mariah (pictured on her lap alongside daughter Adriana)

She is about to be executed Wednesday for the death of Mariah (pictured on her lap alongside daughter Adriana)

If they don’t advocate clemency, all he can do is postpone the execution by 30 days, throughout which her authorized workforce could have to rethink their choices.

Separately, Lucio’s authorized workforce are pursuing two last-ditch makes an attempt to spare her life.

They filed a number of motions within the Texas Supreme Court of Appeals which may cease the death sentence at any level earlier than Wednesday.

Lucio has been in custody since 2007, maintains that Mariah died from injuries sustained during a fall down a flight of stairs even though she confessed to hurting Mariah during investigations

Lucio, who has been in custody since 2007, maintains that Mariah died from accidents sustained throughout a fall down a flight of stairs although she confessed to hurting Mariah on the time 

The Cameron County District Attorney’s office can be but to rule on a movement to withdraw the execution which had been filed in February. 

Her legal professionals say new proof exhibits that Mariah’s accidents, together with a blow to the top, have been brought on by a fall down a steep staircase, and almost half of the jurors who sentenced her have referred to as for her execution to be halted and demanded a retrial.

Lawmakers and celebrities comparable to Kim Kardashian, an advocate for felony justice reform, and Amanda Knox – an American who was convicted of murdering a British scholar in Italy and whose conviction was overturned – have rallied to Lucio’s trigger.

A bipartisan group of 100 Texas lawmakers have been pushing for the parole board and governor to spare her life.

Last week, just a few of them joined Lucio for a prayer session in jail. 

Prosecutors, although, preserve that the woman was the sufferer of baby abuse.

In addition to the blunt-force damage to her head that was decided to have killed her, Mariah’s physique was discovered to have bruises, scratches, and a chew mark on her again, main investigators to imagine that Mariah had been killed, and suspecting Lucio of the crime. 

Lucio’s attorneys say her capital homicide conviction was based mostly on an unreliable and coerced confession that was the end result of relentless questioning and her lengthy historical past of sexual, bodily and emotional abuse. 

Lucio, now 53, was convicted of killing her two-year-old daughter, Mariah, in 2007 (pictured with son John)

Lucio, now 53, was convicted of killing her two-year-old daughter, Mariah, in 2007 (pictured with son John)

Three hours into a late-night interrogation Lucio confessed to police that she had spanked and bitten her daughter - an admission that became the backbone of the case against her

Three hours right into a late-night interrogation Lucio confessed to police that she had spanked and bitten her daughter – an admission that turned the spine of the case towards her

‘This new proof exhibits that Ms. Lucio was convicted of a criminal offense that by no means occurred,’ the 242-page writ of habeas corpus says. 

‘Ms. Lucio asserted her innocence greater than 100 occasions, however police refused to settle for any response that was not an admission of guilt – suggesting to Ms. Lucio that the interrogation wouldn’t cease until she informed them what they needed to hear,’ the submitting reads. 

They say Lucio wasn’t allowed to current proof questioning the validity of her confession.

Her legal professionals additionally contend that unscientific and false proof misled jurors into believing Mariah’s accidents solely may have been brought on by bodily abuse and never by medical problems from a extreme fall.

‘I knew that what I used to be accused of doing was not true. My youngsters have all the time been my world and though my selections in life weren’t good I might have by no means damage any of my youngsters in such a manner,’ Lucio wrote in a letter to Texas lawmakers.

The Innocence Project say that Lucio's lifelong history as a victim of sexual and domestic abuse made her particularly susceptible to confessing to things she never did

The Innocence Project say that Lucio’s lifelong historical past as a sufferer of sexual and home abuse made her significantly inclined to confessing to issues she by no means did

Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz, whose office prosecuted the case, has mentioned he disagrees with Lucio’s legal professionals’ claims that new proof would exonerate her. 

Prosecutors say Lucio had a historical past of drug abuse and at occasions had lost custody of some of her 14 youngsters.

During her interrogation Lucio initially maintained that Mariah had fallen down the steps just a few days earlier than she turned unresponsive, however after about three hours she admitted to spanking and biting Mariah.

‘What would you like me to say? I’m accountable for it,’ Lucio informed Texas Rangers once they pressed her on the chew mark.

The assertion turned the spine of the state’s case towards Mariah, with prosecutors utilizing what they characterised as an admission of baby abuse to join Lucio straight to her daughters death. 

Though Lucio by no means admitted to truly killing Maria or inflicting fatal-harm, the Cameron County jury discovered the abuse admissions enough to discover Lucio responsible and deserving of the death penalty.  

During her 2007 trial, the judge did not allow a psychologist to testify about why Lucio's past might compel her to make false confessions

During her 2007 trial, the decide didn’t enable a psychologist to testify about why Lucio’s previous may compel her to make false confessions

But advocates of Lucio say that the confession was clearly made and coerced below duress, and that Lucio’s longtime historical past as a sufferer of sexual and home abuse made her particularly inclined to confessing to issues she by no means did – a degree which was not made at Lucio’s trial as a result of the decide didn’t enable a psychologist to testify on the topic. 

During a typically contentious Texas House committee listening to on Lucio’s case this month, Saenz initially pushed again on requests to use his energy to cease the execution, earlier than later saying he would intervene if the courts did not act.

‘I do not disagree with all of the scrutiny this case is getting. I welcome that,’ Saenz mentioned.

Armando Villalobos was the county’s district legal professional when Lucio was convicted in 2008, and Lucio’s legal professionals allege that he pushed for a conviction to assist his reelection bid. 

In 2014, Villalobos was sentenced to 13 years in federal jail for a bribery scheme associated to providing favorable prosecutorial selections.

More than half the members of the Texas House and Senate have requested that her execution be halted. 

A bipartisan group of Texas lawmakers traveled this month to Gatesville, the place the state homes feminine death row inmates, and prayed with Lucio.

Five of the 12 jurors who sentenced Lucio and one alternate juror have questioned their choice and requested she get a brand new trial. And Lucio’s trigger additionally has the backing of religion leaders and was featured on HBO’s ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.’

Lucio’s household and supporters have been touring all through Texas and holding rallies and screenings of a 2020 documentary about her case, The State of Texas vs. Melissa.

Abbott has granted clemency to just one death row inmate since taking office in 2015. 

Abbott commuted a death sentence to life with out parole for Thomas ‘Bart’ Whitaker, who was convicted of fatally taking pictures his mom and brother. Whitaker’s father was additionally shot however survived and led the hassle to spare his son’s life.

Lucio's case has received widespread attention, and in March nearly 90 bi-partisan Texas lawmakers voiced their support for a stay of Lucio's execution until evidence can be reviewed

Lucio’s case has obtained widespread consideration, and in March almost 90 bi-partisan Texas lawmakers voiced their help for a keep of Lucio’s execution till proof might be reviewed

It’s uncommon within the U.S. for a girl to be executed, in accordance to the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit that opposes capital punishment. 

Women have accounted for solely 3.6 per cent of the greater than 16,000 confirmed executions within the U.S. relationship again to the colonial interval within the 1600s, in accordance to the group’s information.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, there have been 17 ladies executed all through the nation, in accordance to the info. 

Texas has put extra ladies to death – six – than every other state. Oklahoma is subsequent, with three, and Florida has executed two.

The federal authorities has executed one lady since 1976. Lisa Montgomery, of Kansas, obtained a deadly injection in January 2021 after the Trump administration resumed executions within the federal system following a 17-year hiatus. 

The Justice Department has halted executions once more below the Biden administration.

After studying about Lucio’s case, Kardashian tweeted: ‘[Lucio] has been on death row for over 14 years for her daughter’s death that was a tragic accident.

‘Her 2-year-old daughter Mariah fell down a flight of stairs and two days later handed away whereas taking a nap.

‘After she referred to as for assist, she was taken into custody by the police. [Lucio] is a survivor of abuse and home violence herself and after being interrogated for hours and falsely pleaded responsible.

‘She needed the interrogation to be stopped, however police made her phrases out to be a confession.’

‘She is scheduled to be executed on April 27 in Texas,’ the fact star added, as she urged the general public to signal a petition by the Innocent Project in an effort to press Governor Abbott to cease Lucio’s execution.

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