A mother who was on death row for killing her 2-year-old daughter in 2007 was granted a last-minute reprieve by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday, April 25.

Melissa Lucio, 53, was convicted of beating her 2-year-old daughter Mariah to death in 2007 and had been scheduled to die by lethal injection on Wednesday, April 27. However, after taking new evidence into consideration, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halted the execution of Lucio on Monday, April 25, Daily News reported.

New evidence presented by Lucio’s legal team suggested that the murder of her toddler daughter never even happened. According to the evidence provided by medical professionals and eye-witnesses, Mariah reportedly died after accidentally falling down a steep flight of stairs at Lucio’s rental home.

Lucio was living in a second-floor apartment in Harlingen, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley at the time of the incident. Mariah is reported to have slipped out the screen door undetected and fell down a steep staircase. Family members rushed to the scene hearing the loud screams then found her at the bottom of the stairs.

Lucio said that he did not see the girl fall. However, another sibling testified that he had seen her fall downstairs. The girl did not appear to have external injuries beyond a bleeding lip, the Guardian reported.

Meanwhile, at least five of the jurors who convicted Lucio 14 years ago have come forward to say that they would have voted differently if the new evidence had been available at the time.

Meanwhile, Lucio reportedly suffered a long history of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, starting in her own childhood. During the five hours of intense questioning by investigating officers, Lucio insisted more than 100 times that she was innocent.

“I am grateful the court has given me the chance to live and prove my innocence,” Lucio said. “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.”

Orange County Judge Cuts Sentence
A father and his son have been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for allegedly raping the man's intellectually disabled and underage daughter on various occasions for the past several years in Bhivandi, Thane, Mumbai, India. This is a representational image. Shutterstock

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