Clemency Letter

Updated August 27, 2019

Rodney has an execution date of November 20, 2019, after his latest appeal was denied by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Supporters from anywhere in the world can sign and share this clemency letter for Rodney Reed. When you’ve sent a letter, let us know!  Share the news on our Facebook and email a copy of your letter to Lily@nodeathpenalty.org

Rodney’s appeal for clemency is backed by people across the country, and grows everyday. A list of notable supporters can be found on the Clemency Supporters page. If you are a leader of a church or organization and would like to add your name to this list, please let us know.

You can download, print, and mail the pdf version to:

Gov. Greg Abbott
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428
contact form: https://gov.texas.gov/apps/contact/opinion.aspx

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
P. O. Box 13401
Austin, Texas 78711-3401
Email: bpp-pio@tdcj.texas.gov

If you decide to mail your letters, please include your signature.

The letter:

Dear Governor Abbott and members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles,

I am writing to ask you to grant clemency to Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed, who is scheduled for execution on November 20, 2019. I believe that Rodney is innocent of the crime he was convicted of.

Rodney Reed was convicted of the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites in Bastrop, Texas. His conviction was based solely on semen DNA evidence. No other physical evidence linked him to the murder. Rodney has maintained that he and Stacey were having an affair, which accounted for the presence of his DNA.

During the trial, important evidence of Rodney’s innocence was not presented. This included hidden eyewitness testimony, misleading expert witness testimony, and the failure of the defense to call either an alibi witness or the multiple witnesses who could have testified to the affair between Stacey and Rodney.

Over the years, evidence continues to point to Stacey’s then-fiancée and former Giddings police officer Jimmy Fennell, Jr. as the perpetrator of this crime. Even members of Stacey’s family- including Heather Stobbs, Sherry Everitt, Judy Mitchell, Arica Wiederhold, Tina Curtiss, John Leston, Brenden Campbell, Jeffery Holcomb, Mandie Wiederhold, and Ray Horton- believe that Fennell is guilty of the murder of their family member. Witness testimony and DNA evidence point to the involvement of Fennell’s known associates David Hall and Ed Salmela.

Fennell gave conflicting accounts of where he was on the night of the crime. He claimed to be home with Stacey. But in a statement from Fennell’s close friend Curtis Davis, a former Bastrop Sheriff’s Office deputy, Davis stated that Fennell told him that he was out drinking the evening before Stacey was killed. This statement raised issues of a Brady violation- as it appears to have been suppressed by the prosecution. This evidence prompted the courts to order a new hearing in the Bastrop District Court held in October 2017.

At that hearing, evidence was presented that cast doubt on the time of the death given by the prosecution at trial. Renowned forensic pathologist Michael Baden, M.D. testified in the hearing that, “In my opinion, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, she was dead before midnight” the night before her body was found. Other forensic experts have submitted affidavits that the original time of death is inaccurate, which would make it impossible for Rodney to have murdered Stacey.

In 2013, Texas passed a law to provide habeas corpus relief in cases where a conviction based on testimony provided at trial by an expert witness is later changed by that witness. At trial, the original examiner, Roberto Bayardo, falsely testified that Rodney’s semen could not be more than 24 hours old at the time of her death. In 2012, Bayardo recanted his trial testimony, including his claim that Stacey was raped. At the 2017 hearings, Baden testified that there was “absolutely no evidence” of rape.

Rodney has asked for new DNA testing on several crucial pieces of evidence– including the belt that Stacey was strangled with– which have never been tested for DNA. These tests could very well prove Rodney’s innocence. The Texas legislature has recognized the importance of pre- and post-conviction DNA testing. SB 122, passed in 2011, was intended to greatly expand DNA testing.

In 2013, you supported a bill for pre-conviction DNA testing, saying, “Texans may disagree about the death penalty, but one thing all Texans can and should agree upon is that no innocent person should be executed in Texas.”

I am asking that you stand by your words and stop the execution of an innocent man. I am asking that you support DNA testing and a new trial in this case. I am asking that you spare the life of Rodney Reed.

Sincerely,

Name and Signature

Street Address: City, State, Zip

Feel free to personalize your letter if you wish. For example, see how  Rev. Charles Kullmann,  Rev. Tom VandeStadtFr. Bill Wack, and Mark Clements made their own letters.

If you are not in Austin and you are able to collect physical copies of this letter, please remember to make copies of all signed letters and mail them to the
CEDP-Austin at 1311 East 13th St., Austin, TX, 78702

We want to have a record of every letter sent so the Governor’s office cannot ignore us!

Receiving lots of physical letters will make an impression on the Governor and the BPP. If you prefer to email, the contact form for the governor’s office will require a five-digit zip code.

According to Texas law, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles can recommend clemency for Rodney, and Gov. Greg Abbott can approve or reject this recommendation, or Gov. Abbott can issue a one-time, 30 day stay without the recommendation. For that reason, our letter is addressed to both.

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4 thoughts on “Clemency Letter

  1. Pingback: Amnesty International issues URGENT ACTION about Rodney Reed | Free Rodney Reed!

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  3. Pingback: Gov. Abbott finally issues a statement about Rodney Reed | Free Rodney Reed!

  4. Lana Lamb

    I have campaigned for Rodney’s release for years and spread his story to anyone who would listen. It is incomprehensible to me that his innocence is not seen by those who have the power and authority to right a wrong such as this. To spend 2 decades in prison while innocent is horrible enough but to go through it waking up every day with a feeling of dread, waiting and wondering “is this the day I leave this world?”, “is this the day they decide to murder me?”
    That is psychological torture and is inhuman. Those in a position to right this wrong must do so. Don’t worry about how bad the Bastrop DA’s office screwed up or how Jimmy Fennell, a man with a proven history of violence towards women and a compulsion for violent sex, was the prime suspect at first but after a black man’s DNA was found inside the victim all interest in Fennell was lost.
    For the record I am a middle aged WHITE FEMALE LIVING IN THE SOUTH AND I BELIEVE RODNEY REED IS INNOCENT AND THAT JIMMY FENNEL KILLED STACY STITES AND HIS FELLOW OFFICERS HELPED HIM GET AWAY WITH IT.

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