Is Melissa Lucio Innocent? Time Running out for This Death Row Inmate
***Update: Melissa Lucio's execution has been delayed pending further review of her case as of 4/25/22***
The clock is running out for Melissa Lucio at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas.
The 53-year-old death row inmate is set to die by lethal injection on April 27th, 2022 unless her execution date is withdrawn. Her clemency filing is not asking for a full pardon, but a reduction of her death sentence to a lesser penalty, or at least a 120-day stay from execution as she seeks a new trial.
Over 100,000 people have signed a petition supporting Ms. Lucio and calling for her execution to be stopped, according to the Innocence Project. Now her fate lies in the hands of Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
How Did Melissa Lucio Get on Death Row?
This latest bid to spare Melissa Lucio's life comes 14 years after she was convicted of capital murder in the death of her two-year-old daughter, Mariah.
Lucio is the first woman of Hispanic descent in Texas to be sentenced to death. She has maintained her innocence since Mariah's death, which Lucio claimed was the result of an accidental fall down the stairs.
Her case was featured in the 2020 documentary, The State of Texas vs. Melissa.
How Many Women Are on Death Row?
Lucio, who had no prior prison record, is one of six women on death row in Texas.
The last time Texas executed a woman was in 2014, and there are about 50 women on death row across the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
According to Lucio's federal public defender Tivon Schardl, she faces a tough road because it is rare for the Pardons and Parole Board to hold a new hearing and recommend clemency in a capital case. The board usually makes its recommendation on a clemency filing within days of an execution date.
If efforts to withdraw her execution date fail, Lucio will become the seventh woman to be executed in the state of Texas.