CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Myth or fact: Melissa Lucio would've been labeled as the first Latina executed in Texas.
After KRIS 6 News recently reporting of Lucio’s case, a call came into the newsroom from a viewer telling us about a woman named Chipita.
Some consider her story a legend.
Local history marks Chipita as the first Hispanic woman executed in Texas.
At marker number 14201, at the intersection of Main Street and McGloin street in San Patricio County, stands a replica of the county courthouse that existed in the 1800s.
One marker tells the story of Josepha 'Chipita' Rodriguez, who was hanged in 1863 for the murder of John Savage.
According to Beatriz Alvarado, a Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Social Sciences Department at Del Mar College, Lucio would have been the first Hispanic woman to be executed by the state of Texas on a technicality.
"Starting in 1923 is when the state of Texas started doing executions," she said. "Prior to that, every county was responsible for their own executions. That’s why there isn't a historical sense that the state of Texas was responsible for Ms. Rodriguez."
The trial's fairness was questioned, however, because some members of the jury’s had “problematic personal histories.”
"The reason that we know about this is that she proclaimed her innocence from the minute that she was accused, all the way to her execution," said Beatriz Alvarado, a Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Social Sciences Department at Del Mar College. "Her last words are reportedly, 'I'm not guilty.' "
For now, 'Chipita' will continue to be known as a legend. There's even been this book written about her and, officially, Alvarado confirms because the execution happened locally it’s going to be in the historical memory of the region rather than it being recorded statewide.