‘If there was a new trial today, she would be acquitted’: Lawyers work to prove Melissa Lucio's innocence after Texas court delays execution

1 year 1 month 5 days ago Wednesday, April 27 2022 Apr 27, 2022 April 27, 2022 9:17 AM April 27, 2022 in News - Local

After the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals delayed Melissa Lucio’s execution, she and her attorneys now have the opportunity to present new evidence that they say will prove her innocence.

Lucio’s attorneys will be presenting evidence to the 138th Judicial District Court in Brownsville in hopes of getting a new trial.

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“We are so confident, that given the new evidence of her innocence if there was a new trial today, she would be acquitted,” said Vanessa Potkin, director of special litigation for the Innocence Project.

Potkin says the case going down to the lower court gives Lucio the opportunity to be fully exonerated. She also says the court will be hearing new evidence that no court ever has.

In Lucio’s original trial, the state presented testimony that Lucio’s 2-year-old daughter’s injuries had to come from some type of intentional abuse or beating. But Potkin says this testimony was false, and that Mariah’s autopsy shows she had indications of a blood coagulation disorder.

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During the trial, the state also produced witnesses who said there was no accidental fall, which is what Lucio and her attorneys have always claimed led to her daughter’s death— not any type of physical abuse.

Lucio’s attorneys say a pathologist and orthopedic pediatric surgeons have reviewed Mariah’s autopsy.

“All of the medical evidence in the case and found that the evidence was consistent with the accidental fall," Potkin said.

Sandra Guerra Thompson, a criminal law professor at the University of Houston Law Center, says the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rarely issues a stay of execution.

Thompson says in this case she believes the defense will raise a reasonable doubt.

“Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the prosecutors decided not to go forward with another trial,” Thompson said.

Potkin says it’s hard to predict when Lucio’s case will be in court, but it will likely take weeks, if not months, for an actual hearing to begin.

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