All eyes are on Melissa Lucio’s case as family and supporters came together Wednesday in Brownsville Texas, rallying for a new trial and her freedom.
While the stay of execution sheds new light on her case, law experts say it’s also starting a larger conversation about the death penalty itself.
“We came so close here," said Baylor University School of Law Assistant Professor of Law Rachel Kincaid. "I think it’s really difficult to look at her case and nothing think this is an indictment over a system that uses the death penalty overall."
This week the Supreme Court also agreed to hear the appeal of another Texas Death Row inmate Rodney Reed.
Reed was convicted of killing a 19-year-old woman more than two decades ago. However, like in Lucio’s case, his attorneys are hopeful new evidence will get his case a second look, maybe even out of prison.
“It highlights for me how troubling it is to sit in someone to death based on our science now when we know our science in the future can easily undermine those convictions. You can’t reverse it after those sentences have been executed,” said Kincaid.
The death penalty is legal in 27 states. Texas leads the nation in executions since the penalty was reinstated in 1976, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
“We need to be responsible who we elect," said LULAC District 17 Central Texas Director Ana Luisa. "We need to be responsible and stand and say all life is precious ... all life."
It is why some supporters are hoping that the findings of Lucio’s case put an end to the death penalty in Texas.