Texas court halts execution of Melissa Lucio convicted of killing 2-year-old daughter, after Kim Kardashian’s pleas

Melissa Lucio received the death sentence for the death of her two-year-old daughter in 2007 (Pictures: AP)

A Texas appeals court on Monday delayed the execution of Melissa Lucio, who had been set for lethal injection on Wednesday for the 2007 death of her daughter.

Doubts of whether Lucio fatally beat her two-year-old daughter Mariah have staved off her execution. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the request by Lucio’s attorneys, who say new evidence would clear her name.

Lucio’s case has garnered support far and wide, from to lawmakers, and even some of the jurors who sentenced her to death.

Separately, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday decided against making a clemency recommendation in Lucio’s case, citing the stay of execution.

Brittany Peebles and her son Mason, 10, gather in Texas in support of death row inmate Melissa Lucio (Picture: AP)

It’s unclear when the lower court will begin reviewing her case.

‘I thank God for my life. I have always trusted in Him,” Lucio said in a statement shared by her legal team. ‘I am grateful the Court has given me the chance to live and prove my innocence. Mariah is in my heart today and always.’

During the trial, prosecutors argued Lucio was an abusive mother who likely caused the injuries that led to her daughter’s death. Her daughter, Mariah, died in Harlingen, Texas, a city of about 75,000 located on the southern tip of the state.

Lucio’s attorneys say her murder conviction was based on a coerced confession that was the result of tireless questioning about her history of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. They say she was not able to present evidence questioning the validity of her confession.

Her lawyers say this false evidence led jurors to believe Mariah’s death was solely caused by physical abuse, and not medical complications that occurred from a severe fall.

Lucio and her attorneys have maintained that Mariah’s injuries were brought on from a fall down a staircase outside the family’s second-floor apartment just two days before her death.

Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz, whose office prosecuted the case, has spoken out about Lucio’s attorneys claims that new evidence would exonerate her. The prosecutor’s office says Lucio had a long history of drug abuse and at times had lost custody of some of her 14 children.

The ruling will delay Lucio’s execution while the trial court considers her new claims.

‘Melissa is entitled to a new, fair trial. The people of Texas are entitled to a new, fair trial,’ said one of Lucio’s attorneys, Tivon Schardl. ‘Texans should be grateful and proud that the Court of Criminal Appeals has given Melissa’s legal team the opportunity to present the new evidence of Melissa’s innocence to the Cameron County district court.’

Calls for reconsideration in Lucio’s case have grown over the past few weeks. Those asking for leniency include a bipartisan majority of the Texas legislature and celebrities like Kim Kardashian.

Kardashian shared a letter to social media written by Lucio’s children, begging the state not to kill their mother.


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