As Mom of 14 on Death Row Faces Execution in 2 Weeks, Family Doing All They Can to Stop It

Lucio Family / Innocence Project

If the execution goes ahead, Melissa Lucio would be the first Latina to be executed in the state of Texas.

The Texas mother of 14 who was found guilty of killing her 2-year-old child in 2007, faces execution in two weeks, but her family is doing all they can to stop it and asking the governor for clemency, CBS News reported.

Melissa Lucio is set to be executed on April 27 but her family and attorneys argue that the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Mariah Alvarez, was an accident.

Lucio is one of six women currently sitting on death row in the state. If the execution goes ahead, Lucio would be the first Latina to be executed in the state of Texas.

“The system has failed Ms. Lucio throughout her life. At 53, having survived a lifetime of suffering and trauma, Ms. Lucio is now poised to be executed by the State of Texas, an irreversible injustice which will ensure that the cycle of harm and damage that Ms. Lucio and her children have already experienced will be perpetuated and passed on to the next generation. Ms. Lucio’s death for a crime that did not take place can only deepen the pain and suffering of her family,” the Innocence Project says in a statement on their website.

Paramedics were called to Lucio's home in Harlingen, Texas, on Feb. 17, 2007, after Mariah went to sleep and did not wake up. Paramedics said she was found unresponsive and not breathing, ABC News reported. She later died in the hospital.

Lucio said that two days before she found her daughter unresponsive, Mariah had fallen down a steep staircase as the family moved into a new apartment but didn’t seem injured, court records obtained by ABC News said.

Lucio, who was pregnant with twins at the time of Mariah’s death, was interrogated by police for five hours and her lawyers say she was manipulated into saying she caused her daughter’s death despite saying she was innocent over 100 times, ABC News said.

Lucio would tell police, “I guess I did it,” when asked if she was responsible for some of Mariah’s injuries but her lawyers say the statement was misinterpreted by prosecutors as a confession and tainted the trial and case.

Lucio’s attorneys say their client faced a lifetime of trauma and years of abuse when she was younger which led her to be manipulated into causing Mariah’s death, ABC News reported.

Her lawyers argue Mariah died from injuries from a fall down the 14 steps of a steep staircase outside the family’s apartment, The Post-Gazette reported.

In the years since her conviction, Lucio’s case for clemency has gained public support and caught the attention of The Innocence Project, which is helping the family lobby for her release.

Some jurors from the case now doubt their guilty decision and the act of clemency has gained support from more than half the Texas House of Representatives, The Post-Gazette said.

With the public and political support, they are trying to persuade the Board of Pardons and Paroles and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to grant an execution reprieve or commute her sentence.

“Mariah’s death was a tragedy not a murder... It would be an absolutely devastating message for this execution to go forward. It would send a message that innocence doesn’t matter,” Vanessa Potkin, one of Lucio’s attorneys who is with the Innocence Project, said in a statement to the Post-Gazette.

One of Mariah’s children, Bobby Alvarez, who was 7 at the time of his sister's death, spoke to CBS News recently and said "It was an accident," he said. "If they go through with it, they'll be killing an innocent woman."

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