To the Editor: When I first heard the story of Melissa Lucio, who is scheduled to be executed in Texas just weeks away on April 27, I was shocked but not surprised. I had heard stories like this for decades.
When I lived in Maine, one of my next door neighbors was a direct descendant of the last man put to death in the state. He was later proven innocent and this led to the abolition of the death penalty there. Years later, in 2011, I traveled to Georgia in the weeks leading up to the execution of Troy Davis, who was wrongfully convicted and also executed. I learned that our justice system is entangled in the dynamics of political power and not in the ideal that I was raised in.
I urge you, please, to carefully learn Melissa’s story. Learn enough to be able to respond to those who claim she was violent. There is no proof of this. Learn enough about her case to understand the motivation of prosecutors, judges, and others who want to convince the world that she deserves to be put to death.
Then please, if you know anyone in Texas, contact them and urge them to call District Attorney Saenz, 956-300-3881, and Governor Greg Abbott, 956-446-2866.
Ask them to ask that they reconsider the case given the questionable evidence. Tell them about former DA Armando Villalobos, who showed up at Melissa’s trial, whom she “confessed” to based on police harassment and misapprehension of his behavior under traumatic circumstances. Villalobos is now in prison for bribery and extortion.
You may think that has nothing to do with us here. It’s in Texas, why should I bother? But it concerns all of us. We are all involved in what is happening and if we want to defend democracy and justice, we have to talk about it.
Please, even if you’ve never done anything like this before, sign a petition. Ask someone to help you if needed. Talk to members of your faith community, your family, anyone you know. Help reverse this injustice. Help make a difference and maybe we can save Melissa from being unjustly put to death.
Putney, April 2