Melissa Lucio claims a confession was coerced by police during a 5-hour interrogation. (Representational)Houston:
A court in Texas on Monday stayed the execution of Melissa Lucio, a mother of 14, who was due to be put to death on April 27 for the 2007 murder of her two-year-old daughter, Mariah.
Pregnant with twins at the time, Lucio was immediately suspected by police after Mariah's body was found at the family home covered in bruises.
Lucio, 53, claims a confession was coerced by police during a five-hour interrogation and that the toddler's death was actually caused by an accidental fall down a staircase.
Her case has been championed by the Innocence Project, which fights for the wrongly convicted, and reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who has urged Texas Governor Greg Abbott to grant clemency for Lucio.
"The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has just issued a Stay of Execution for Melissa Lucio" and ordered a lower court to consider new evidence, her lawyers said in a statement.
She was due to be executed by lethal injection.
"I am grateful the court has given me the chance to live and prove my innocence. Mariah is in my heart today and always," Lucio said in a statement.
Mariah had a physical disability which made her unsteady while walking, according to Lucio's defense, and which could have explained her fall.
The defense also argued that the bruises could have been caused by a blood circulation disorder.
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