October 18, 2019
Updated October 22, 2019 with photos
Supporters of death row inmate Rodney Reed plan to rally at the Texas Capitol on Saturday in hopes of stopping Reed’s scheduled execution next month.
They are expected to gather at the south steps of the Capitol at 2 p.m. for the 20th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty event, where Reed’s mother and brother — Sandra Reed and Rodrick Reed — plan to speak about their fight to prove Reed’s innocence in the 1996 strangulation of 19-year-old Stacey Stites in Bastrop County.
Scott Cobb, president of the Texas Moratorium Network, an anti-death penalty nonprofit, said rally organizers expect to see an increase in attendees after Reed’s case received national attention this month on the “Dr. Phil” talk show. About 50 marchers have attended the event in recent years, according to Cobb.
“We hope that when people hear from Sandra and Rodrick that it will continue to educate people about the risk that an innocent person is on death row,” Cobb said. “Texas has continued to lead the country in capital punishment. It’s a really compelling issue, especially for families like Rodney Reed’s.”
Reed, along with his family, has maintained his innocence in Stites’ death. Police say Reed assaulted, raped and strangled Stites to death while Reed, however, says he and Stites had a consensual affair.
Two new witnesses were brought forward by Reed’s attorneys this month in a final attempt to halt the execution set for Nov. 20. Both witnesses claim to have known Stites’ fiancé Jimmy Fennell,who was a suspect until investigators found Reed’s DNA in her body.
A motion filed this month in Bastrop County District Court by Reed’s attorneys says the witness accounts blame Fennell.
Reed’s attorney’s are now asking the court to withdraw the execution date.
By Heather Osbourne
Originally printed in the Austin American Statesman: https://www.statesman.com/news/20191018/death-row-inmate-rodney-reed-supporters-to-rally-at-capitol-on-saturday?