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My name is Sabrina Van Tassel, I directed a documentary about Melissa Lucio called “The State of Texas Vs Melissa.” The documentary was released on HULU in 2021, and millions of people saw it. Many asked how they could help.

 I created this GoFundMe page to support Melissa and her family members who are actively working for her freedom, and to help bring awareness to her case. Melissa and I are grateful for the many people who donated to the previous GoFundMe. We shut that page down after Melissa got her stay, nearly two years ago. We had no idea she would still be in prison nearly two years later, and that is why we have started this new page.

 I am in direct contact with Melissa and have been helping her for years. Only people on her visitation list can send funds to her, as required by the prison (TDCJ), and I am one of them. Melissa needs funds for hygiene items, ink for her typewriter, paper, stamps, decent food... to make her life tolerable. Writing is her only way of communicating with the outside world and she has very few visits since her family lives so far away. Remember she has mostly been alone 24 hrs a day with nearly no human contact for over 15 years! Now we need to start raising our voices again.

 This fundraiser will help cover the costs of doing so. We need to help Melissa's family members continue to visit her and be active in the campaign. Cameron County is 8 hours away from the prison, so it is a long and expensive trip.

We also want to be able to cover the costs of raising awareness and calling the public to action once again. We have local organizers who are raising awareness again right now in Cameron County, and we plan to take that effort to the rest of the world if need be. Most important, we must be ready to help Melissa resume her life in freedom when she is finally released. I believe she will soon be freed!

 BACKGROUND In 2008, Melissa became the first Latina woman sentenced to death in Texas. From the moment of her arrest, she has steadfastly maintained her innocence. Melissa Lucio has spent over 15 years on death row for the alleged murder of her two-year-old daughter Mariah. We now know there was no murder. The film tells that story. Melissa's case raises many questions: no one ever saw her being violent towards any of her children, some of the kids saw Mariah fall down a flight of stairs and weren't allowed to testify at trial, her court appointed attorney willingly set aside evidence that could have dramatically changed the outcome and the District Attorney who used her case to be re-elected and was then sent to prison with a 13 year prison sentence for extortion and bribery. In July 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned her conviction and found Lucio’s right to a “complete defense” had been violated in her original trial.

 In February 2021, a sharply divided en banc Fifth Circuit reversed the 2019 grant of relief by a vote of 10 to 7, reinstating her conviction and death sentence. Melissa’s hope for exoneration and freedom was then with the U.S. Supreme Court.

 In November, 2021, they refused to hear the case. On Friday January 13, 2022, Cameron County set an execution date for Melissa Lucio. Immediately, working with Death Penalty Action, I traveled with Melissa's son John and other family members all over Texas, making sure people knew that the State of Texas planned to execute an innocent woman. It was because the world was able to access her story through the film that, together with Death Penalty Action and The Innocence Project, we were able to create enough pressure that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halted Melissa's execution just two days before it was to happen.

The Court ordered an evidentiary hearing to examine the evidence of Melissa's innocence, and we are all still waiting for that to happen. Melissa has been waiting nearly two years, and that is two years too long! This is the official GoFundMe page to help Melissa Lucio and help shed light to her egregious miscarriage of justice. You may also visit her web page at, which is run by Please click here to add your name to the e-mail list. Below is Melissa’s contact info. Please send her a letter or an email through JPay/Securus. She would love to know how many are here for her after 15 years of solitary confinement!!!

 Melissa Elizabeth Lucio
 Mountain view unit
 TDJC# 999537
2305 Ransom Road,
Gatesville Texas, 76528
(Please know the rules: Colored paper, perfumed paper, glitter, and greeting cards are not allowed! Please use plain paper.)

Please also make some noise and share on social media #savemelissalucio #freemelissalucio Thank you from the bottom of hearts Sabrina, Abe, Michelle, John, Bobby, little Melissa and many more...


  • Susan Kirk
    • $50 
    • 2 d
  • Susan K Willis
    • $15 
    • 15 d
  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 16 d
  • Helen Lueders
    • $50 
    • 23 d
  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 24 d


Sabrina Van Tassel
Los Angeles, CA

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