April 25, 2022 | CMN Executive Director Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy offers the following statement regarding the recent stay of execution for Melissa Lucio issued by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
“We give thanks to God that Melissa will not be executed this week and that she will soon have the opportunity for a new trial to prove her innocence. Melissa is a person created in the image and likeness of God. Her case captured the nation’s interest because it reminds us that all human life is endowed with an inviolable dignity, and should never be taken by the state. This is why the Catholic Church calls the death penalty “inadmissible” in all cases (CCC 2267).
In Melissa’s case, we see clearly how deeply flawed our capital punishment system is, and how it places innocent lives at risk. Her story also reveals how this system targets the most vulnerable among us, including people of color and those with histories of serious trauma. Melissa is a Mexican-American mother, a devout Catholic, and a lifelong victim of sexual and physical abuse. It has been disturbing to learn how, after suffering the unimaginable loss of her young daughter, Melissa was then further victimized and retraumatized by our legal system.
We are grateful to the Catholic bishops of Texas for their committed advocacy on Melissa’s behalf — especially Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville and Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, whose strong statements against Melissa’s execution were highlighted in a recent CMN video about her case.
We hold in prayer Melissa and her family as they continue to fight to prove her innocence and heal from the loss of young Mariah.”