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Texas woman on death row makes last-ditch effort to stall execution

A Texas woman convicted of killing her two-year-old daughter in 2007 made a last-ditch attempt to postpone her execution on Monday.

Lawyers for Melissa Lucio filed what they call her last legal option for delaying her April 27 execution, attorney Vanessa Potkin told The Post.

“This is it,” said Potkin of the Innocence Project.

“If they don’t (stop the execution) then it would really be in the hands of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.”

A request for clemency on behalf of Lucio is before the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Lucio has the support of even some Texas Republicans, who have asked Texas courts to at least delay her case while evidence is re-examined.

Lawyers for the Innocence Project filed a 242-page application for a writ of habeas corpus Friday, asking the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to delay Lucio’s execution and look at new evidence.

Melissa Lucio’s lawyers filed her last legal option for delaying her April 27 execution.
AP
Melissa Lucio
Prosecutors say Lucio fatally beat Mariah but Lucio has long denied that, saying her daughter died from injuries sustained during a fall down a flight of stairs.
AP

“The evidence that’s in the filing, no court has the opportunity to rule on that evidence. Our hope is that the court stays her execution so that we can put the pause on it so we can go back to court and have hearings on this new evidence supporting her innocence,” said Potkin.

The new evidence is expert testimony that shows Lucio’s “confession” was coerced and that two-year-old Mariah’s death was accidental, says the Innocence Project.

Mariah’s official cause of death was blunt force trauma. Lucio claims the girl fell down the stairs and died as a result of complications from those injuries over two days in which she did not seek medical care for her toddler.

John Lucio
Lucio’s family prays before a hearing by the Interim Study Committee on Criminal Justice Reform about his mother, death row inmate Melissa Lucio.
USA TODAY NETWORK/Jay Janner
Melissa Lucio
Melissa Lucio bowing her head in prayer during a meeting with a bipartisan group of Texas lawmakers at Gatesville Correctional Facility, Texas.
State Representative Jeff Leach

“We can sit here and debate whether Ms. Lucio should have taken her to the hospital sooner when she started to decline in health, but she was not abused,” said Potkin.

Lucio was questioned by cops after investigators discovered a bite mark along with scratches and bruises on the girl’s body.

During police interrogation, Lucio admitted to biting and spanking Mariah. Cameron County prosecutors used that statement to secure a conviction even though the mother of 14 children insisted the death was an accident.

If Lucio is executed, she would be the first Hispanic woman to be put to death by the State of Texas.

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