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Son Begs Texas To Halt Mum's Execution Set For Next Week

Son Begs Texas To Halt Mum's Execution Set For Next Week

The son of a woman facing the death penalty has pleaded her innocence and asked that her execution be halted

Bobby Alvarez was just seven years old when his mother was arrested on accusations of murdering his little sister.

Now aged 22, he is pleading for a halt to her execution and maintains her innocence as her time on death row is due to come to an end next week.

According to The Independent, Melissa Lucio, 53, is days away from having her life ended by lethal injection and her son is begging the state of Texas to grant her a stay of execution or a pardon.

He is 'hoping for a last-minute clemency or a stay of execution' and trying not to think about what will happen if the legal appeals to prevent her execution fail.

Melissa Lucio.
Courtesy of the Lucio family/The Innocence Project

Lucio has always maintained she was wrongly convicted of murdering her two-year-old daughter Mariah in 2007, saying that the little girl died of injuries sustained in an accidental fall down the stairs two days before her death.

According to Innocence Project attorney Vanessa Potkin, the family were packing up and preparing to move to a new home when they couldn't hear Mariah playing any more, with Lucio discovering her daughter at the bottom of the stairs with a bleeding lip but 'otherwise didn't appear to be seriously injured'.

"Melissa didn't observe the fall herself. She saw Mariah at the bottom with a bleeding lip, but she otherwise didn't appear to be seriously injured. One of Mariah's other siblings witnessed the fall and later, when interviewed by Child Protective Services after Mariah's death, stated that he saw his sibling fall down the stairs", Potkin said.

The Guardian reports that following her arrest Lucio was subjected to the 'Reid Technique' of interrogation, which has played a part in a number of wrongful convictions in the US.

Lucio's execution is scheduled for next week.
Handout from the legal team for Melissa Lucio

Over the course of six hours following her daughter's death, officers allegedly screamed in Lucio's face they had 'lots of evidence' she was to blame and she 'had to know' what had happened, only to abruptly switch tone and gently suggest they could 'put this to rest' if she confessed to causing the toddler's death.

During her interview Lucio insisted over a hundred times that she was innocent until hours of interrogation produced her confession: 'I don’t know what you want me to say, I’m responsible for it. I guess I did it.'

According to court documents cited by NPR, Lucio has led a difficult life, having been abused as a child by her mother's boyfriend, married at 16 to an abusive husband and beaten by her next partner.

Lucio’s daughter, Mariah.
Handout from Melissa Lucio’s legal team

Potkin is arguing that there 'is a risk factor and vulnerability during custodial interrogation for false confession' for survivors of physical and sexual abuse such as Lucio.

Lucio is the mother of 14 children including Mariah, the last two of which were born behind bars and given up for adoption. All of her surviving children have joined the calls to save her life.

Her confession was vital to the jury's guilty verdict and the judge's decision to hand down a death sentence, which will be carried out on 27 April in the face of significant evidence that she did not commit any such crime, according to her legal team.

Lucio's legal team say the case against her is 'riddled with injustice' ranging from a false confession obtained by coercion to false scientific evidence presented at the trial as well as expert testimony for the defence being excluded.

Calls are growing desperate to stop the execution going ahead.
The Innocence Project

More than half of Texas state senators are now demanding that her life be saved, along with five of the jurors who convicted Lucio who say they would not have done so if they had seen the evidence they now know about her case.

Texas governor Greg Abbot could grant her clemency, while the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals could also stop the execution. Cameron County district attorney Luis Saenz could also delay Lucio's execution.

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Featured Image Credit: Family Of Melissa Lucio

Topics: US News