“What I want to happen next is for Melissa to be happy and to take care of her children. To come home,” said Esperanza Treviño, the mother of Melissa Lucio.
Lucio’s legal team from the Innocence Project submitted new evidence to the TCCA Monday morning and shortly after, the stay was issued.
The case has garnered national attention from bipartisan lawmakers, celebrity advocates, and a growing number of supporters who say Lucio’s trial was unfair.
“The state used false testimony to obtain her conviction and withheld exculpatory, helpful information to her defense at trial,” said Vanessa Potkin, one of Lucio’s attorneys and the director of Special Litigation at the Innocence Project.
In 2007, Lucio was convicted of fatally beating her 2-year-daughter Mariah Alvarez in Harlingen. Lucio’s attorneys argue that she was coerced into a confession leading to a faulty conviction.
Monday afternoon, Lucio’s siblings gathered in their mother’s home where they shared tears for their sister’s life. Most impacted by the news was Lucio’s mother whose 78th birthday was Sunday.
“It’s the best gift I could have received,” said Treviño.
“Nobody understands how my mom has taken it these last 15 years that (Melissa) has been locked up,” said Rene Treviño, brother of Melissa Lucio. “We can’t understand what she’s going through because she gave birth to Melissa.”
In Esperanza’s home Monday afternoon, some of Lucio’s family members said their prayers have been answered, but now their prayers are for clemency of Lucio’s case.
“We’re going to pray for clemency because we don’t want another trial,” said Sonya Valencia Alvarez, the sister of Melissa Lucio. “I mean I know that a trail would probably clear Melissa’s name, cause we would love for Melissa’s name to be clear, however, going through trial again is just going to open up old wounds.”
The next step in Lucio’s procedure is presenting new evidence to the 138th Cameron County Judicial Court, according to Vanessa Potkin.
“So the Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest court, sent Melissa’s case back down to the trial court so we can have a hearing for the first time,” said Potkin. “We can present witnesses and we can get a ruling of evidence of her innocence.”
Potkin adds if the court orders a re-trail, Lucio could be transferred back to Brownsville for court.
“It’s a very happy moment, and I am still emotional, and I always had faith my sister would get a stay of execution,” said Diane Cerda, the sister of Melissa Lucio. “I know that she’s going to come home, I know that they’re going to let her come home.”