(Foto: Death Penalty Action)

Melissa Lucio a mother accused of the murder of Mariah her two-year-old daughter will now have a chance for a real and honest defense. The Court had said that she deserves to have a new hearing to consider evidence not presented in her first trial that could prove her innocence. Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halted the execution of Lucio with two days to spare.

Five hours of a Gestapo-type interrogation forced Melissa a pregnant mother to admit to a murder she did not commit.

The autopsy report and findings did not include the testimony of the doctor who had examined Mariah and had determined that the bruising on the child’s body could be caused by an injury to the brain

(Foto: Death Penalty Action)

The public defender did not allow the children to testify on Melissa’s behalf. They would have said she was a loving mother and that none of them including Moriah had ever been abused by their mother.

Melissa’s twins were born in jail and taken from her. And she as a mother was never allowed to properly grieve the loss of her daughter nor give her the proper burial.

(Foto: Death Penalty Action)

Today five of the jurors testify that had they known the above information they would never have voted for the conviction.

This case has received major attention given a documentary film The State of Texas VS Melissa Lucio produced by Sabrina Van Tassel which lays out much of the information not presented in Lucio’s defense. Everyone should see this film.

(Foto: Death Penalty Action)

A new team of lawyers including the Innocence Project developed the most incredible defense. And 100 state legislators both Republican and Democratic called for a new trial for Melissa, and for her release from prison.

I am on the Advisory committee of Death Penalty Action which is an organizing group of human rights activists who for 6 months have been organizing events around Texas that gained the attention of people around the world.

Many Texas Latino groups like Somos Tejas, LULAC, and others joined the defense of Lucio. Lucio’s children were a key part of the campaign. This was multicultural with individuals and organizations from a rainbow of communities. Many voices of the religious communities of all faiths prayed and fought for Melissa.

(Foto: Death Penalty Action)

Over the past months while working on her case I have exchanged many letters with Melissa and heard the voice and heart of an innocent woman who is a person of faith and love. When her children visit her, she reads them verses from the bible. Melissa has made her defense movement to be a movement of love and compassion.

(Foto: Death Penalty Action)

Melissa and I have had some great conversations about Mexican food. We have exchanged recipes and she has said more than once that she wants to be released to gather all her children around the dinner table and give them her faith and love. Melissa answered letters to hundreds of individuals including an exonerated friend from Uganda who sent me a copy of his letter.

(Foto: Death Penalty Action)

Melissa recently sent me her recipe for fideo which I know she will cook for her children. I joined thousands of people in Texas and around the world who this past week had participated in many rallies on her behalf. And I was with supporters in the State Capitol of Texas outside the governor’s office when we got the good news and celebrated and continued our work.

Melissa spent her life living with the pain of sexual and physical abuse which started when she was a child 7 years of age. «I thank God for my life,» Lucio said in a statement, «I am grateful the Court has given me the chance to live and prove my innocence. Mariah is in my heart today and always. I am grateful to have more days to be a mother to my children and a grandmother to my grandchildren.»

The fight for Melissa Lucio’s exoneration continues, «It’s not over,» John Lucio said of his fight to free his mother.

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