LISTEN: Melissa Lucio Reacts to News of Her Temporary Stay of Execution

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres
Art by Stephany Torres
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Melissa Lucio, a Texas mother who was supposed to be executed on Wednesday (April 26), received a temporary stay of execution from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals two days prior. That means Lucio’s case will now go back to a lower court to be considered for a new trial after it reviews all the evidence.

Jeff Leach, Texas state representative and chair of the House Criminal Justice Reform Committee called Lucio on Monday (April 24) to give her the good news. The emotional phone call was recorded and has been circulating on social media since Tuesday (April 25).

The call begins with Leach and Lucio exchanging pleasantries before Leach asks her, “Have you heard the news?” Lucio responds: “No, what?”

Lucio then listens to Leach say the words she had been waiting to hear for years: “The Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay of your execution for Wednesday.” Lucio then let out an audible gasp before asking, “Are you serious?” and then broke down into tears of relief.

After a few seconds of pure joy from Lucio, she wanted to know exactly what Leach meant. He was happy to make it as clear for her as possible: “Well, it means you’re going to wake up on Thursday morning.”

Lucio was sentenced to death in 2008 for the murder of her two-year-old daughter, Mariah. Since then, allegations that the state presented false testimony during her trial and hid evidence from her lawyers have been suggested. Her confession, too, has also been questioned as to whether it was coerced from her by police after hours of interrogation.

“I thank God for my life,” Melissa Lucio said in a statement Monday. “I have always trusted in Him. I am grateful the court has given me the chance to live and prove my innocence. Mariah is in my heart today and always. I am grateful to have more days to be a mother to my children and a grandmother to my grandchildren. I will use my time to help bring them to Christ. I am deeply grateful to everyone who prayed for me and spoke out on my behalf.”