Melissa Lucio reacts after learning she won't be executed this week

Huntsville, Texas - Just two days before she was scheduled to be executed in Texas, Melissa Lucio got the news that she has been granted a reprieve.

Melissa Lucio, who has been on death row for the last 15 years, was granted a stay of execution on Monday.
Melissa Lucio, who has been on death row for the last 15 years, was granted a stay of execution on Monday.  © REUTERS

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday issued a stay of execution for Melissa Lucio, likely giving her a chance to present her case before a jury.

Lucio had been found guilty of murdering her two-year-old daughter Mariah Alvarez, who died after falling down the stairs. The mother of 14 has been on death row for the last 15 years.

Audio shared by the Texas Tribune captures Lucio reacting to Monday's news with tears. "Are you serious?" she sobs. "Oh my god! That is wonderful!"

"I thank God for my life. 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," Lucio said in a statement after the decision, according to the Innocence Project.

"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."

Lucio has maintained her innocence over the years. Her advocates say she was pressured by police into giving a false confession during intense and cruel interrogations just hours after her daughter's passing. She was pregnant at the time.

Mariah was later found to have a blood coagulation disorder, which likely caused the bruises on her body. There was no evidence that Lucio abused any of her children.

Over the years, Lucio has gained support in her case from across the political spectrum – even from Republicans who support the death penalty.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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