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Melissa Lucio's execution delayed due to appeals court in Texas

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has granted a stay to Melissa Lucio's execution.

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Melissa Lucio's execution delayed due to appeals court in Texas

 Lucio was to die in two days in 2007 for her murder of Mariah, her 2-year-old girl. The court ruled that Lucio's legal team had raised multiple issues about her first trial and sent the case back.

Lucio stated in a statement following the decision that "I am grateful to the Court for giving me the opportunity to live and prove mine innocence." "Mariah will always be in my heart. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be a mother to my kids and a grandma to my grandchildren. I will dedicate my time to helping them find Christ. Everyone who prayed for and spoke on my behalf is deeply appreciated.

An autopsy and detectives ruled that Lucio, a mother, was responsible for Mariah's death. They also found evidence that Mariah suffered from child abuse. New evidence suggests that Mariah's bruises may have been caused by a brain injury sustained from an accident fall down steep steps two days prior, as Lucio and her children informed officers and child protective service.

The testimony of experts was presented to the jury at Lucio’s trial. Lucio was convicted, sentenced to death and would have been Texas' first Latina executed.

Lucio's lawyers raised nine legal points in her appeal to her court. These issues were related to the events at her original trial. The court found that four of these points were worth further consideration. "But for the State’s use of false testimony she would have been convicted;" "previously inaccessible scientific evidence would preclude her convict;" "she is really innocent;" and "the State suppressed positive, material evidence in violation Brady v. Maryland."

According to the Monday ruling, a trial judge will now look at those points and Lucio won't be executed until these issues have been resolved.

One of her lawyers said that Melissa's siblings and brothers--Mariah and Mariah's aunts, uncles, and grandparents--are all relieved that Melissa won't be taken by Texas. We believe that the court honored Mariah’s memory, because Melissa is innocent. Melissa has the right to a fair trial. Texas citizens have the right to a fair trial. Texans should be proud and grateful that Melissa's legal team was allowed by the Court of Criminal Appeals to present new evidence to the Cameron County District Court.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles had been expected to make a recommendation in her case. This would be sent to Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles could have made recommendations, including commuting her sentence or granting a reprieve to allow the courts to take more time to consider the issues. Or, it could have upheld the decision. Monday's ruling resulted in the board stating that it would not be issuing any recommendations.

Lucio's family spoke out about the pain and suffering that they had experienced after learning that the execution was halted.

Sonya Alvarez, her sister, said that it was very stressful. Sometimes I just want to be in a hole. I don't want knowledge to stop me from wanting to. But, it's reality."

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