Abbott has in his hands the power to stop Lucio’s execution once and for 30 days. He can also, according to lawyers, ask the state Board of Pardons for a full investigation into the case after which Lucio was sentenced to death in 2008 for the death of her two-year-old baby, Mariah.
With just hours to go the scheduled execution of his Lucio in Hunstville jail, his sister Sonia sent a message to the Republican governor of Texas in an interview with Digital Edition. “Please give my sister clemency, it’s been 16 very difficult years for us and my sister is innocent,” she asked.
“Don’t waste any more time and (let him) set her free,” added Sonia, who assured that “she will never” believe that her sister killed her little Mariah. Beside her, her mother, Esperanza Correa, squeezed her eyes in pain. “My daughter is going to be saved, she is going to be saved from the death penalty,” was able to say briefly during the interview.
The story of Melissa Lucio and the case that brought her to execution
Little Mariah fell down the front stairs of the house where the family lived on February 15, 2007. Two days after that fall, the family had already moved into a new ground-floor apartment that they entered by climbing three steps. . It was in this house that the girl died.
When the paramedics arrived to help her, Melissa told them about the fall, but did not specify what had happened in the previous house. This generated a chain of misunderstandings with the police, who questioned her in which they asked her to admit that she had been to blame for the bruises that Mariah had all over her body.
After little more than five hours of an interrogation that has been considered by experts as “coercive”, she said the phrase: “I guess I did it”. With that sole evidence, the Cameron County District Attorney, Armando Villalobos, put together an indictment that Lucio’s attorney did not dispute with witnesses or specialist analysis. That led to her being sentenced to death.
Lucio’s lawyers have introduced several resources to stop the execution. One of them is a document requesting clemency to the Board of Pardons. In it, affidavits from forensic specialists in various specialties were gathered who concluded —by reviewing the autopsy and other expert documents— that Mariah’s death has causes that may respond to an accident.
The opinion of the Board of Pardons on Lucio’s case is expected shortly.