Tag Archives: #freerodneyreed

Oprah joins growing list of Rodney Reed supporters

November 7, 2019

Oprah Winfrey spoke today to CBS This Morning, asking Texas Governor Greg Abbott to “take a pause” and look at the case of Rodney Reed.

Oprah joins a growing number of activists, lawmakers, and celebrities who are calling on Greg Abbott to stop the execution scheduled for November 20. These now include entertainment icons Beyonce and Rihanna, civil rights activist Shaun King, a bipartisan caucus of 26 Texas Legislators, a group of former and current Texas law enforcement officers, the Austin American-Statesman editorial board, Texas interfaith leaders, Bastrop County’s state representative John Cyrier, and even the European Union. A longer list of supporters is available at the Clemency Supporters page.

Yesterday, Rodney’s brother Rodrick Reed and Rodney’s sister-in-law Uwana Akpan appeared alongside Innocence Project attorney Bryce Benjet on Democracy Now! The video is an excellent summary of the case this far and includes an interview with Alicia Slater, a co-worker of Stacey Stites, who confirms Stacey’s relationship with Rodney.

Anyone is who able should join the Reed family this Saturday, November 9, for a rally outside the Texas Governors Mansion in Austin, Texas. Rodrick Reed and Sandra Reed, Rodney’s mother, will be joined by Shaun King; Heather Campbell Stobbs, cousin of Stacey Stites; Kevin Gannon from A&E’s Dead Again; State Rep. Vikki Goodwin; exonerated prisoners, and more. Details and a speakers list are here.

Please keep circulating petitions and making phone calls to the Texas Governor’s office and the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Time is running out to save Rodney’s life, but we can all be part of the movement to free Rodney Reed!


Rodney Reed asks the Supreme Court for Justice

September 25, 2019

Rodney Reed asks U.S.Supreme Court to Halt Execution

by Chuck Lindell
for the Austin American Statesman

Lawyers for death row inmate Rodney Reed of Bastrop, who faces execution Nov. 20, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in his case Tuesday, arguing he has made a “comprehensive and persuasive showing” of innocence.

Complaining that the state’s highest criminal court dismissed new evidence of innocence in June after a perfunctory review, the appeal said the nation’s top court should step in “so that Texas does not execute an innocent man.”

“The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals disposed of Reed’s constitutional claims challenging his capital murder conviction for the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites in a terse and largely boilerplate decision that referenced no legal authority,” the appeal said.

The appeal said the evidence used to convict Reed has been refuted or rejected — particularly the opinion of three scientific experts whose trial testimony linked Reed to the crime — and pointed instead to Stites’ fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, as the killer.

“Reed has disproven every aspect of the State’s case,” the appeal said.

The Supreme Court will decide in the coming weeks whether to accept Reed’s appeal, halting his execution, or let stand the Texas court ruling that rejected his innocence claims.

Bastrop County Criminal District Attorney Bryan Goertz, joined by lawyers with the Texas attorney general’s office, has rejected the contention that Reed is innocent.

In court documents, Goertz said Stites was happily engaged to Fennell and spent her last days planning for a wedding that would have taken place 18 days after she was kidnapped, raped and strangled about 3 a.m. while driving from the Giddings apartment she shared with Fennell to her job at a Bastrop grocery store.

Reed became a suspect after he was arrested in the kidnapping, beating and attempted rape of another 19-year-old woman about six months after Stites was killed near the route Stites typically took to work, also about 3 a.m., Goertz argued.

Now 51, Reed was 10 days from execution in 2015 when the Court of Criminal Appeals ordered a closer look at his claim that new evidence showed he did not kill Stites — including defense experts in forensic pathology who said Stites had been killed hours before she and Reed could have crossed paths, at a time when she was home alone with Fennell.

The new evidence also showed that Stites had not been raped and that the prosecution’s scientific experts were mistaken when they said Reed’s semen — identified in Stites’ body by DNA testing — was left around the time she was killed, Reed’s lawyers told the Supreme Court. Reed claims he and Stites were engaged in a consensual sexual relationship.

Reed has one other legal case pending, a federal lawsuit filed Aug. 8 in Austin arguing that his civil rights were violated because prosecutors and state courts have repeatedly denied his requests for DNA testing of crime scene evidence.

Arguing that the results could support Reed’s claims of innocence, defense lawyers want to test items that were probably touched by the killer — including Stites’ clothing, a name tag and two pieces of the woven belt used to strangle her — to determine if skin cells and other DNA-bearing evidence can be identified.

Reed’s lawyers also plan an appeal pressing his innocence claims with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.