Sentenced to death: MELISSA LUCIO
Execution date: 27 April 2022
Place of execution: Huntsville, Texas United States

Melissa Lucio is a Hispanic (Mexican American born in the US) 53 years old woman. She is from Harlingen, South Texas/Cameron County, in the Rio Grande Valley, 30 minutes away from the Mexico border. She is Christian, with 14 children, and has been in Gatesville (Texas) death row for 14 years.

In 2007, she was arrested after the Police had found the body, covered with bruises, of her daughter Mariah, who was 2 years old and had died of a blunt head trauma.

The Police immediately accused Melissa, after a coerced interrogation that lasted for 7 hours (until 3 am), conducted without the assistance of a lawyer. In the end, she admitted that she had caused the bruises, but that she was innocent and did not kill the child, as she continues to repeat today.

No investigations were conducted, nor was evidence brought or witnesses heard at the trial. Melissa had a pool of corrupt lawyers who could not adequately defend her. When one of his daughters admitted to being responsible for Mariah’s fall down the stairs that day, the lawyer decided not to use that statement during the trial, although this could probably have exonerated Melissa from the murder charge, proving her innocence.

At the trial, District Attorney Armando Villalobos did not want to consider the evidence of several facts:

– Melissa’s children always maintained that Melissa was not abusive, but they were not allowed to testify, although two of the youngest children stated in filmed interviews that they saw their sister falling down a flight of stairs. But Melissa’s lawyer did not bring that up at trial.

– She had no prior record, had never been arrested before, and had no records of prior violence.

So, in 2008 Melissa, thanks to an ineffective defense and a corrupt judge, was sentenced to death, without clear evidence and without witnesses, but only for an alleged guilt.

In 2019, the 5th Curcuit Court of Appeals in Texas reversed her conviction because she didn’t receive a fair trial. The State of Texas appealed the decision and in 2021, a very divided court reversed her conviction once again and put her back on death row. She got an execution date end of January 2022.  

The case has had an international exposure and an opinion movement to save her life has been growing since 2020, also thanks to the release of a commercially available film by Sabrina Van Tassel, entitled “The State of Texas vs. Melissa”.


The documentary revealed that the District attorney, Armando Villalobos, who handled her case, was convicted of bribery and corruption, is serving a 13-year prison sentence. He had openly used Melissa’s case to be reelected. There are many reasons to review the process and ask for clemency for Melissa. Death is always unjust. Let’s react together to this condemnation and sign the appeal to support a woman who has lived a life of pain.

1.3.2022 – The Texas Bishops’ Conference has issued an appeal to save Melissa’s life: read it here.



Sign the petition