AUSTIN, Texas — Supporters of death row inmate Melissa Lucio gathered at the Texas Capitol Sunday afternoon in an effort to stop her execution scheduled for next week.
It's the latest effort underway to save Lucio, who was convicted of killing her youngest daughter in 2007. She is scheduled to be executed on April 27.
Her case has drawn attention from many, including members of the Texas Legislature and celebrities alike after supporters pointed out flaws in the case and raised questions about how it was handled at the time. Loved ones said the death of Lucio's daughter was an accident after she fell down the stairs. The questions raised have consequently drawn skepticism about her actual guilt in the case.
Lucio's son, Bobby Alvarez, and one of the filmmakers who first shared Lucio's story through a documentary on Hulu were some of the people in attendance at the rally on Sunday.
"I just want people to know with my mom's case that there's a lot of wrong that happened in her case," Alvarez said. "The clemency being able to stop the execution, be able to stop everything. It will help."
Sunday's rally was the second one that happened in the city over the weekend. On April 23, supporters gathered outside of the Governor's Mansion.
The rally in Austin on Saturday was just one of more than a dozen being held across several states on April 23 as part of a national day of action to save Lucio.
On Friday, supporters through the group Death Penalty Action delivered a petition to the Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz calling on him to rescind the execution warrant and reinvestigate the case. They said Saenz has the power to stop Lucio's execution by withdrawing that warrant. The petition they gathered included more than 65,000 signatures. Several other petitions have been delivered to the Cameron County DA, totaling more than 340,000 signatures.
"We have affected this entire community just by this one accident and just because [the] DA refuses to just say, 'Hey, maybe we made a mistake.' You know," said Maggie Luna, an organizer for the rally in Austin. "This is a life. We cannot go back and say 'Oh, oops we got it wrong.'"
The group is also planning to deliver a petition to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday, two days before Lucio's execution. In order to cancel the execution, the board must issue a recommendation to the governor's office for Abbott to grant clemency.
A bipartisan group of Texas lawmakers have also urged state leaders to intervene and stop the execution. The Texas House Committee on Criminal Justice held a hearing on the death penalty on April 12 where a juror in the original case testified and called for a new trial. That was after five of the jurors said they were not aware of all the facts at the time and would not have sentenced her to death had they known then what they know now.
More than 20 Texas senators also joined in, sending a letter to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. In the letter, the senators recommended that Lucio either get her sentence commuted or that she get a reprieve.
Attention was drawn to the case after Hulu released “The State of Texas vs. Melissa,” which detailed how she could be innocent. In March, John Oliver discussed her case on his HBO show "Last Week Tonight" during an episode focused on wrongful convictions. Kim Kardashian has also expressed her support for Lucio and has signed a petition urging Abbott to stop Lucio's execution.
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