Texas mother on death row thanks supporters after court stays execution

In this April 6, 2022 photo provided by Texas state Rep. Jeff Leach, Texas death row inmate...
In this April 6, 2022 photo provided by Texas state Rep. Jeff Leach, Texas death row inmate Melissa Lucio, dressed in white, leads a group of seven Texas lawmakers in prayer in a room at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas. The lawmakers visited Lucio to update her about their efforts to stop her April 27 execution. The lawmakers say they are troubled by Lucio’s case and believe her execution should be stopped as there are legitimate questions about whether she is guilty.((Texas state Rep. Jeff Leach via AP))
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 10:25 PM CDT
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GATESVILLE, Texas (KWTX) - Execution is off the table - for now - for Melissa Lucio, of Harligen, after the death row inmate was granted a stay of execution Monday by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Lucio was sentenced in for the 2007 death of her daughter, but since then much doubt has risen around whether she was wrongfully convicted.

Lucio’s family was relieved after learning the execution had been halted.

“April 27 is still there. And when I see April 27 pass and it’s April 28, that’s when it’s really going to be -- it’s exciting,” said John Lucio, Melissa Lucio’s son.

Now that the court has halted the execution, it will now be sent back to Cameron County, something its district attorney was expecting.

Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz said the Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the execution to allow two motions to be heard.

“As I said before, I welcome the opportunity to prosecute this case in the courtroom: where witnesses testify under oath, where witnesses may be cross-examined, where evidence is governed by the rules of evidence and criminal procedure, and where the court rules pursuant to the rule of law. That is our criminal jurisprudence system, and it is working,” the district attorney said.

However, there is still lots of positivity within the family of new opportunities to prove Lucio’s innocence.

“I don’t know yet, I’m just waiting, hoping for her to come out, you know, so we can start that future,” said Bobby Alvarez, Melissa Lucio’s son.

Melissa Lucio’s 2008 sentence for the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Mariah Alvarez, has brought much attention recently.

Celebrities like Kim Kardashian have given support in halting her death. Even Democratic and Republican state legislators like Jeff Leach of Plano, casting doubts.

“There are like millions of voices, million little angels, who basically helped to not make this happen,” said Sabrina Van Tassel.

As the director of “The State of Texas Vs. Melissa,” a documentary about Melissa Lucio’s case, Van Tassel has thrown lots of support behind the family.

Now, the family and its legal team are on a mission to convince the courts she was convicted on false testimony and hidden evidence.

“There is not a single reason that anybody can give me that would be acceptable as to why Melissa Lucio is not standing with us right now,” said Abe Bonowitz, executive director of Death Penalty Action.

But for the time being, the family is rejoicing in the fact they get to see each other past Wednesday.

“She says she’s going to be up all night today writing to a lot of people, so she’s not going to do no sleeping,” said John Lucio.

Related Link: Court delays execution of Melissa Lucio so lower court can review case

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