Melissa Lucio: Supporters gather to call on state to stop execution

With Melissa Lucio's execution set for Wednesday, her supporters are doing everything they can to try to stop it. 

About a dozen supporters gathered at the Texas State Capitol Saturday calling on the state to stop Lucio's execution. Organizers say it was all part of a National Day of Action. The Austin rally was just one of many across the nation in support of Lucio. 

"Thousands are standing in solidarity today and hoping Greg Abbott or DA [Luis] Saenz, the Board of Pardons and Paroles is going to make their decision Monday, should be out by 1, and we are begging them to grant clemency," Maggie Luna with the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition said.

Lucio was convicted of capital murder for the 2007 death of her daughter Mariah Alvarez in the South Texas city of Harlingen. Prosecutors had said at the time Mariah was the victim of child abuse as her body was covered in bruises and a medical examiner testified Mariah died from a blow to her head. Authorities say Lucio had a history of drug abuse and at times had lost custody of some of her 14 children.

Lucio’s attorneys argue the child’s death was an accident and that the injuries she died of were not caused by abuse but from falling down a steep staircase. They believe Lucio, who has a "low IQ, PTSD, depression" and is a lifelong victim of abuse, was coerced into giving a confession. 

They also say Lucio wasn’t allowed to present evidence questioning the validity of her confession, which they allege was given under duress after hours of relentless questioning. Several jurors at her trial have also expressed doubts about her conviction.

"It was an accident, it was a terrible accident, she was pregnant when this happened, and as she is being harassed by the Cameron County investigator, she's not even able to grieve her child," Luna said.

15 years later, Lucio's supporters say too much is on the line. "This is a life, we can't go back and say oops, we got it wrong," said Luna.

More than 90 Texas lawmakers signed a letter last month to commute, or at least postpone, Lucio’s execution. Gov. Greg Abbott or the Court of Appeals could make the decision.

Jennifer Toon served time in prison with Lucio and describes her as a motherly person.

"I went to prison for things I was guilty of and most women do, and you just knew that she was different. She's humble, she's kind, she's deeply spiritual, she's just a beautiful person. She's like any mom you would meet," she said.

According to FOX 4, Cameron County DA Luis Saenz said he doesn't think Lucio will be executed and that if the court doesn't delay it, he will step in and withdraw his application to execute her. However, the Texas Tribune says that because of Saenz’s previous conflicting statements and without any court motions or rulings, it’s still not certain Lucio’s execution will be stopped. 

The Associated Press, Texas Tribune and FOX 4 Dallas contributed to this report.