Texas bishops thankful Melissa Lucio’s execution is stayed
April 25, 2022 AUSTIN —
The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops thank and commend the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for intervening at this late hour to spare the life of Melissa Lucio, a mother of 14 and a grandmother, who was scheduled for execution on April 27. Their full statement follows: Since her imprisonment 14 years ago for the death of her daughter Mariah, Melissa Lucio has become a new person in Christ. Her conversion is a profound witness to the power of God’s love and mercy. We are grateful she has the opportunity to continue her personal conversion and to heal relationships with her children and grandchildren, relationships that have been strained by her imprisonment and the circumstances of her life. Melissa’s case highlights the serious flaws in our justice system that allowed her to be condemned to death on the basis of a dubious conviction. We continue to pray for Melissa Lucio, her family, her community, and all who have been affected by the devastating loss of Mariah. May Melissa’s story be a catalyst for our civic leaders to consider more deeply the need for reform of our laws and practices regarding criminal justice.
Background: Melissa Elizabeth Lucio (born June 18, 1969) is the first woman of Hispanic descent to be sentenced to death in Texas. She was convicted of capital murder after the death of her two-year-old daughter, Mariah, who was found to have scattered bruising in various stages of healing, as well as injuries to her head and contusions of the kidneys, lungs and spinal cord. Prosecutors said that Mariah's injuries were the result of physical abuse, while Lucio's attorneys say that Mariah's death was caused by a fall down the stairs two days before her death. Lucio was questioned by law enforcement for several hours after Mariah's death. She said more than 100 times that she had not abused Mariah, until making a vague statement that she was responsible for what happened to Mariah. Lucio's attorneys say that she was vulnerable to making a false confession because she has a history of physical and sexual abuse. (Source: Wikipedia)