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A Pendance Special Selection.

Melissa Lucio was the first Hispanic woman sentenced to death in Texas. For ten years she has been awaiting her fate, and now faces her last appeal.

Winner: Best Documentary Raindance Film Festival

Director: Sabrina Van Tassel

“How would you spank her?”

In grainy video footage of an interrogation, a Texas Ranger grills Melissa Lucio, a forty-year-old mother who is slumped in a chair, with an exhausted and vacant look in her eyes.

“Show me how you would do it,” he says, and he sets a baby doll on the table in front of her.

For several minutes, Lucio, who waived her right to have a lawyer present, slaps the baby doll’s back as the officer urges her to continue, seemingly trying to get her to hit the doll harder and harder. “I mean, I wouldn’t pound on her,” she protests a bit.

He shows her pictures of her toddler’s dead body, covered in bruises, and asks her what goes through her head when she looks at the grim photos.

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