The truth that Ms. Lucio is on loss of life row in any respect is an outlier. It’s uncommon for prosecutors to hunt the loss of life penalty in a case the place a mom has been charged with killing her youngsters, her attorneys mentioned.

Credit score…Texas state Rep. Jeff Leach, by way of Related Press

One difficulty her attorneys are elevating is the authorized provision — distinctive to Texas — below which prosecutors should show an individual’s “future dangerousness” in an effort to safe a loss of life sentence. Ms. Lucio didn’t have a historical past of performing violently earlier than Mariah’s loss of life, so prosecutors relied closely on disciplinary data from her time behind bars after her arrest. Ms. Lucio’s attorneys have argued that the prosecution misrepresented these data and that she had not engaged in significant misconduct.

Ms. Lucio, who lived within the border metropolis of Harlingen, struggled to supply for her giant household. On the time of Mariah’s loss of life, she was pregnant with twins and already had 12 youngsters.

She had part-time work as a house well being aide, her attorneys mentioned, however struggled with drug dependancy and sometimes relied on soup kitchens for meals. At one level, the household was homeless and residing in a park. Baby Protecting Providers took her youngsters from her for a time due to neglect, however her attorneys mentioned Ms. Lucio had no documented historical past of abusing her youngsters.

On the time of Mariah’s loss of life in 2007, Ms. Lucio lived with Mariah’s father, Robert Alvarez, and 9 youngsters; the household had simply moved into a brand new residence. The police interviewed each Mr. Alvarez and Ms. Lucio, however her attorneys mentioned they approached Mr. Alvarez a lot in a different way, treating him extra as a witness than a suspect. He was finally convicted of a a lot lesser cost of inflicting harm to Mariah by omission — by failing to hunt medical look after her — and sentenced to 4 years in jail.

Of their interrogation instantly after Mariah’s loss of life, the police accused Ms. Lucio of beating her daughter to loss of life. Prosecutors pointed to bruises on Mariah’s physique and an untreated damaged arm as proof of abuse.

However from the beginning, Ms. Lucio maintained her innocence, saying her daughter had fallen down a flight of stairs because the household was transferring out of an residence two days earlier. Her attorneys have offered skilled testimony that the bruising might have been brought on by her fall down the steps, and that damaged arms should not unusual in younger youngsters susceptible to falls. Mariah had a medical historical past of falling, together with at day care, and no document of prior bruises, the attorneys mentioned.