Town Square

What is the story of Melissa Lucio, and what does her stay of execution mean for her case?

Today, a law professor, a filmmaker, and a state representative help us take a closer look at the story of Melissa Lucio, the first Hispanic woman sentenced to death in Texas – and who today, in breaking news, was granted a stay of execution.


In this April 6, 2022 photo provided by Texas state Rep. Jeff Leach, Texas death row inmate Melissa Lucio, dressed in white, leads a group of seven Texas lawmakers in prayer in a room at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas. The lawmakers visited Lucio to update her about their efforts to stop her April 27 execution. The lawmakers say they are troubled by Lucio's case and believe her execution should be stopped as there are legitimate questions about whether she is guilty.


To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

Town Square with Ernie Manouse airs at 3 p.m. CT. Tune in on 88.7FM, listen online or subscribe to the podcast. Join the discussion at 888-486-9677, or @townsquaretalk.

Melissa Lucio is the first Hispanic woman sentenced to death in Texas.

But this afternoon she was granted a stay from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

The Texas woman was days away from her execution, which was scheduled for this Wednesday.

Sabrina Van Tassel

"I thank God for my life,” Lucio said in a statement.

“I am grateful the Court has given me the chance to live and prove my innocence … I am deeply grateful to everyone who prayed for me and spoke out on my behalf."

Today, we take a closer look at Melissa Lucio's story and what this breaking news means for her case.

Filmmaker Sabrina Van Tassel is here. She directed the 2020 documentary The State of Texas vs. Melissa.

A law professor with expertise in capital punishment and criminal law also joins us, as well as a Texas State Representative who prayed with Melissa on death row.


Kenneth Williams

  • Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law

Sabrina Van Tassel

Rep. Lacey Hull

  • Texas House of Representatives, 138th District, representing the Spring Branch area

Town Square with Ernie Manouse is a gathering space for the community to come together and discuss the day's most important and pressing issues.

Audio from today’s show will be available after 5 p.m. CT. We also offer a free podcast here, on iTunes, and other apps.

Today in Houston Newsletter Signup
We're in the process of transitioning services for our Today in Houston newsletter. If you'd like to sign up now, fill out the form below and we will add you as soon as we finish the transition. **Please note** If you are already signed up for the newsletter, you do not need to sign up again. Your subscription will be migrated over.


This article is part of the Town Square with Ernie Manouse podcast

  • Subscribe on Apple Podcasts
  • Subscribe on Google Podcasts
  • Subscribe on Spotify
  • Subscribe on Stitcher
  • Subscribe on TuneIn
  • Subscribe on iHeart
  • Subscribe on Pandora
  • Subscribe on RadioPublic
  • Subscribe on Pocket Casts
  • Subscribe on Overcast
  • Subscribe on Amazon Music
  • Subscribe via RSS
Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Senior Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

More Information