Life and Death Decision: Melissa Lucio and Her Cry for Help

Melissa Lucio is a death row inmate who was charged for her daughter’s death in 2008. However, her trial was corrupted and the evidence proves her innocence.


Thousands of supporters are working to ensure that Lucio is exonerated, and after reviewing the evidence, I have become one of them. Photo courtesy of MCT Direct.

   Our court system relies on physical evidence to help distinguish between true and false, guilty and not guilty, life and death. 

   My opinions on the death penalty are nothing short of strong. It is a biased and completely absurd policy that has no place in our legal system. Many people may not agree with this, but I hope after reading these facts you will come to realize and agree with me on the fact that Melissa Lucio, a mother of 14 who has just narrowly avoided death by lethal injection, is innocent.

  Lucio was convicted of killing her two-year-old daughter Mariah in 2008. For the past 14 years, she has been awaiting her execution, which had been set for April 27th of this year. Mariah died from blunt-force injury to the head. Lucio, along with a few of her children, told police that this was from the toddler accidentally falling down the stairs. Police, however, immediately expected that Lucio had played a role and took her in for questioning that same evening. 

   Lucio was questioned for hours, from the night of her daughter’s death into the next morning. Mind you, this was all happening while Lucio was pregnant with twins. This means that aside from the stress of having just lost her daughter her stress and anxiety levels were additionally high due to her pregnancy. The interrogation went on for five hours, no breaks, no lawyer present.

   During this interrogation, Lucio pledged her innocence 100 times. Police continued to use methods that have been known to produce false confessions in their questioning. Eventually, she said “I guess I did it” when authorities asked her if she had played a role in her daughter’s injuries. Only then did her interrogation cease.

   This incriminating statement allowed the police to arrest her and the case later went to court. Contrary to this the physical evidence, along with testimonies from Lucio, her children, and other community members proves that Melissa had no part to play in her daughter’s death.

   As previously mentioned, Mariah’s death was determined to have been caused by blunt force trauma to her head. Lucio and her children testified that this occurred when the young toddler accidentally fell down the stairs as the family moved homes. Mariah also had a physical disability that affected her balance and caused her to trip regularly. There was no physical evidence of Mariah having been abused, however, the medical examiner at the trial testified otherwise.

   During her trial, the medical examiner explained to the court that the bruises and marks on Mariah’s body could have only been caused by abuse and that bite marks were found on the child’s body. Upon re-examination, it was determined that none of the bruises found on Mariah’s body pointed towards abuse. Rather that they matched up with the testimony of Lucio and her family that she had fallen down the stairs. It is also a fact that no one, not even trained examiners, can distinguish a bite mark. All of the scientific evidence was inaccurate and false, yet all of it was presented to the jury.

   To further support the claim that Lucio never abused her child, there was no evidence that any of her other children were abused. At the time Lucio had 12 children between the ages of 2 and 15. None of them showed any signs of physical or mental abuse from their parents. In fact, there are quite literally hundreds of pages of records and testimonies from Child Protective Services prove otherwise.

   Another important factor of the injustice of her trial brings us back to her brutal interrogation. Aside from the shock of losing her daughter and the heightened hormone levels caused by her pregnancy, Lucio was also a survivor of sexual and domestic abuse from the age of six up into her adult life. This means that in this environment, Lucio’s responses are much more likely to be false and can be easily manipulated compared to the average person, especially under such extreme circumstances.

    The last point I would like to bring to your attention is that Lucio was never once given the chance to testify in court. The jurors were never allowed to hear her side of the story directly, rather a diluted version from outside sources. Currently, four of the jurors are advocating for her exoneration, stating that they did in fact make the wrong decision.

   Her execution was previously set for April 27th, this past Wednesday. However, two days before her execution the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay of her execution. Given the evidence which has now been brought to light, they are offering Lucio a chance to prove her innocence in a fair and honest trial.

     The 6th Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the right to a fair and honest trial. This is a right that was stripped away from Lucio. Her trial was set with the odds against her, and now, as she fights for her life, there is a new hope that her innocence will be proven and she will gain her freedom back. After spending 14 years away from those she loves, Lucio is prepared to fight back for her innocence and freedom alongside a plethora of supporters. “I am grateful the court has given me a chance to live… I am grateful to have more days to be a mother to my children and a grandmother to my grandchildren. I will use my time to help bring them to Christ. I am deeply grateful for everyone who prayed for me and spoke out on my behalf.” Lucio said on behalf of her stay being granted.

   The fight is far from over. For ways to support Melissa Lucio please visit