Rally in San Antonio hopes to garner support to free death row inmate Melissa Lucio

The rally was one of 14 held in cities across the U.S. days before Lucio is set to be executed.

SAN ANTONIO – A woman on death row is receiving a huge show of support in San Antonio just four days before her scheduled execution.

Melissa Lucio is set to be put to death on Wednesday, April 27th.

”She’s the first Latina in Texas set to be executed this next week for a crime that she didn’t do,” Free Melissa Lucio rally organizer Cody Huffman said.

If executed, Lucio would also be the first woman put to death in Texas since 2014.

St. Mary’s University Law School student Huffman is one of the organizers hoping to garner support for death row inmate Lucio.

“Melissa was interrogated for almost seven hours, just minutes after being taken in after her daughter’s death,” Huffman said.

Back in 2007, Lucio’s 2-year-old daughter Mariah did not wake up from her nap.

Police believe the child died from abuse. Lucio claims she fell down the stairs two days prior.

According to the Innocence Project, a criminal justice reform nonprofit that hopes to exonerate wrongly convicted people, the mother of 14 said over 100 times she had not killed her daughter Mariah throughout the course of questioning.

Only saying at the end, “I guess I did it.”

That same year, prosecutors argued the child’s injuries were consistent with abuse and a jury found Lucio guilty of capital murder. A Cameron County judge sentenced her to death.

“Nothing there proves that she physically did anything to commit the crime that she was convicted of. And, but there is plenty of evidence that shows she is innocent of the crime,” Huffman said.

On Saturday, Huffman organized a rally trying to garner support to free Lucio. It was one of 14 rallies happening in the U.S..

Lucio’s lawyers submitted an application for clemency to Governor Greg Abbott and the Board of Pardons and Paroles in March of 2022.

Abbott was asked about Lucio’s execution at a border panel discussion in San Antonio Thursday.

”I still have not received a report from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. That’s a requirement for the governor to receive that before any action is taken. When I receive that, I’ll consider it and take whatever action I think is appropriate,” Gov. Abbott said.

According to Texas Representative Joseph E. Moody, the Board of Pardons and Paroles is expected to make their recommendation Monday afternoon.

“Understand that our efforts are important because we believe so much in her innocence,” Huffman said.

Lucio’s case is getting high profile attention, including from reality star Kim Kardashian and Amanda Knox.

The Death Penalty Action Group is planning to have a prayer vigil outside of the Texas State Capitol on Monday.

The group organizers said this will be an ongoing presence as they await action by the DA, the courts, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, or the governor.

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About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.

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