Home » Melissa Lucio is one step closer to overturning her death sentence as a judge agrees she had an unfair trial

Melissa Lucio is one step closer to overturning her death sentence as a judge agrees she had an unfair trial

by John Jefferson
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The judge who presided over the trial of Melissa Lucio, a Texas woman being held on death row for the murder of her child, has recommended her conviction and sentence be overturned.

The move by Judge Arturo Nelson comes after Cameron County, Texas District Attorney Luis Saenz and Lucio’s attorneys filed a statement last week agreeing she should never have been convicted. Both sides agreed key evidence was suppressed at Lucio’s trial — and now, their statement has the support of Judge Nelson.

Melissa Lucio’s mother, Esperanza Treviño, and other supporters gathered at the Cameron County Courthouse to protest her execution in 2022. The judge who oversaw her trial has said she should have never been convicted (Copyright-2022)

With Judge Nelson’s signature, Lucio’s case will go to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the only court that can vacate a conviction.

“Judge Nelson found that critical information was withheld from the defense at the time of trial and that Lucio ‘met her burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, that she would not have been convicted in light of the suppressed evidence,’” Lucio’s attorneys said in a statement on Monday.

Lucio’s sons and daughter-in-law expressed their gratitude for Judge Nelson’s decision.

“We hope and pray the Court of Criminal Appeals will agree with the District Attorney, the defense, and Judge Nelson and our mother can come home to her family,” Bobby Alvarez, John Lucio and Michelle Lucio said in a joint statement.

“It’s been 17 years that we have been without her,” they continued. “We love her and miss her and can’t wait to hug her.”

Lucio was first arrested in 2007 after her two-year-old, Mariah, was found motionless in her family’s home. The child showed signs of a broken arm untreated for weeks, a head injury, bite marks on her back, and bruises across her body.

Prosecutors said she beat her child to death. However, Lucio said the two-year-old sustained the injuries by falling down stairs.

Lucio was convicted and sentenced to death in 2008. She was scheduled to be executed in 2022, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted her a stay with just 48 hours to spare.

Melissa Lucio, pictured in an undated booking photo, is one step closer to having her murder conviction overturned (AP)

Now, Judge Nelson, the District Attorney’s office and Lucio’s legal team all agree suppressed evidence — such as a Child Protection Services report and witness statements — would have corroborated Lucio’s defence.

Her son, Mr Alvarez, spoke to The Independent just days after Lucio received her stay. He vowed to keep fighting for his mother’s innocence — a fight that could end in the near future if the state’s Court of Criminal Appeals overturns her conviction.

“Even though we’ve got the stay it doesn’t mean the fight is now over,” Mr Alvarez previously told The Independent.

Read the full article here

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