AUSTIN, Texas — On Wednesday, Melissa Lucio will become the first Latina executed in the Texas death chamber in the modern era unless Gov. Greg Abbott or the Cameron County prosecutor intervenes.
On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is expected to weigh all of the information in the case before it gives its recommendation to Abbott. The recommendation is expected to be made before 1 p.m.
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"With regard to the death penalty that could arise next week ... I still have not received a report from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. That's a requirement for the governor to receive before any action is taken. And when I receive that, I'll consider it and take whatever action I think is appropriate," Abbott said recently.
Lucio’s legal team said issues with her 2008 murder trial for the death of her 2-year-old daughter Mariah are enough to raise doubts. That's why nearly 100 state lawmakers from both political parties want the execution stopped, at least until the case can be re-investigated.
Lucio insists that Mariah fell down the stairs and she did nothing to cause her death.
The case has drawn worldwide attention. Two rallies were held Sunday showing support for Lucio.
Robert Alvarez is Lucio's 22-year-old son. He was the eighth of her 14 children and was 7 when his 2-year-old sister died and his mother was locked up. He lives in San Antonio but drove to Austin for the rally that was held in front of the Texas Capitol. He said the recent jolt of support has been "crazy."
"I just think that’s so amazing. The fact that people are just there, to support my mom and help her with anything that she needs," Alvarez said. "I try not to think the worst. I’ve been thinking the best possible. But, you know, having everybody here, I think there’s no doubt that we will get that clemency."
Alvarez spent four hours with his mother in Gatesville, Texas, last week. He'll spend all day with her on Monday.
"My prayer’s always just to be with her, out here," he said.
Alvarez said the rally was a good distraction to have as his mother's days dwindle. Although he doesn't know everyone who showed up, "I feel like they’re family. You know. They’re here to support my mom."
A few things can happen when the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles decides what course of action to recommend to Abbott. After receiving the recommendation, Abbott can choose to:
- Do nothing and Lucio will be executed on Wednesday
- Issue a stay of execution
- Grant Lucio clemency
The Board of Pardons and Paroles is made up of seven people. The state said its decision on clemency is based on the "totality of information available."