Houston, TX – Kim Kardashian has thrown her support behind a petition for a stay of execution for a woman sent to death row for the “absolute worst” case of child abuse the emergency room doctor said she’d seen in 30 years.
Then-39-year-old Melissa Elizabeth Lucio was convicted of her daughter’s murder and sentenced to death in 2008, the Houston Chronicle reported.
During a two week trial, witnesses testified that two-and-a-half-year-old Mariah Alvarez was beaten and tortured for months by her mother before she died from brain damage following a violent assault her mother claimed was a fall down their stairs in 2007.
Court documents showed that Lucio was at home with her daughter when the child’s father, Robert Antonio Alvarez, arrived home and found Mariah pale and not breathing.
He called 911 but when paramedics arrived, they found the little girl alone on the living room floor.
Lucio claimed Mariah had fallen down stairs, but court records showed that the little girl’s body had suffered serious abuse prior to the fall the mother blamed for her death.
She eventually admitted to Texas Ranger investigators that she had spanked the little girl, bitten her, and pinched her vagina.
Lucio told investigators “nobody else would hit her” but denied having struck the toddler in the head.
The emergency room physician said that Mariah “was dehydrated, her body covered with bruises in various stages of healing on her torso, arms, buttocks, and face… There was a bite on her back,” according to court documents.
Doctors also determined that Mariah’s arm had been broken a week or two prior to her death.
The little girl also had missing hair that appeared to have been torn out, according to court records.
The emergency room doctor said in her report that although Mariah had ultimately died from “blunt force head trauma,” it was the “absolute worst” child-abuse case she had seen in 30 years.
Lucio told investigators that she didn’t know how Mariah had gotten the bruises and suggested that the abuse might have been perpetrated by one of her other children, court documents said.
A jury convicted Lucio of torturing and beating her toddler to death and she became the first Latina woman sent to Texas’ death row in 2008, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Mariah’s father was sentenced to four years behind bars for causing injury to a child by omission for failing to intervene in the abuse by Lucio.
Lucio has 14 children and was pregnant with her youngest two when Mariah died, WFDD reported.
Her attorneys filed a clemency petition that claimed that although she had abused drugs and temporarily lost custody of her children, Lucio was a loving mother.
They have claimed that investigators coerced Lucio’s confession.
Kardashian, who successfully advocated for clemency for Cyntoia Brown, a woman who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a man when she was 16 years old, has taken up the cause of Lucio, according to the Associated Press.
Anti-capital punishment groups have rallied around Lucio, who is scheduled for execution on April 27.
But the celebrity overlooked the reported child abuse Lucio committed in a since-deleted social media post that supported the petition for her clemency.
“She has been on death row for over 14 years for her daughter’s death that was a tragic accident,” Kardashian wrote. “Her 2-year old daughter Mariah fell down a flight of stairs and two days later passed away while taking a nap. After she called for help, she was taken into custody by the police.”
The Texas governor has the power to grant Lucio a one-time, 30-day reprieve on her death sentence, the Associated Press reported.
Abbott can grant full clemency to Lucio if a majority of the parole board recommends it.
“It’s stories like Melissa’s that make me speak so loud about the death penalty in general and why it should be banned when innocent people are suffering,” Kardashian tweeted.