Tag Archives: Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean tweets in support of Rodney

September 4, 2019

Sister Helen Prejean, renowned death penalty abolitionist and author of Dead Man Walking, tweeted this week in support of Rodney Reed.

“If prosecutors are confident that Rodney is guilty, then why block DNA testing? Maybe it’s because there was another suspect who failed multiple polygraph tests but was never thoroughly investigated. That man went on to do prison time for other crimes against women”

That man is Jimmy Fennell, the fiance of Stacey Stites. Fennell spent ten years in prison for the rape of a woman in his custody as a Georgetown, Texas, police officer.

You can read the tweet thread here. Full text is below.

She also questioned the timing of Rodney’s latest execution date:

“June 29: Rodney Reed’s family speaks at an anti-death penalty event in D.C.
July 11: Local newspaper in Bastrop, TX, prints a front-page article about the Reed family’s advocacy.
July 15: Bastrop DA’s office requests an execution date for Rodney.

Coincidence? Doubt it.”

Sister Helen has supported Rodney for many years. She traveled to Austin, Texas, to show her support in February 2015. In an interview with Al Jazeera, she spoke of Rodney’s innocence and the racism at the heart of the US justice system.

Text of Sister Helen’s tweet thread, September 2, 2019:

“Texas plans to execute Rodney Reed on November 20th. Prosecutors and lawyers for the state have rep”eatedly blocked DNA testing on several items found at the crime scene. In other words, they want to execute Rodney without ever doing tests that could prove he is innocent.

If prosecutors are confident that Rodney is guilty, then why block DNA testing? Maybe it’s because there was another suspect who failed multiple polygraph tests but was never thoroughly investigated. That man went on to do prison time for other crimes against women.

The alternative suspect, Jimmy Fennell, was Stacey Stites’s fiancé. He failed the polygraph on this question: “Did you strangle Stacey?” He was never thoroughly investigated after failing the test. Why? It might have something to do with his role as a local police officer.

A Dallas-area police officer has come forward with a chilling story. At a police training session in 1995, Jimmy Fennell said he would strangle his girlfriend with a belt (no fingerprints) if he ever caught her cheating. Stacey Stites was strangled with her own belt in 1996.

In 2007, Jimmy Fennell raped a woman he had detained while on-duty as a police officer in Georgetown, Texas. He put a gun against her head and told her that he would hunt her down and kill her if she reported the rape. He was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to 10 years.

Are prosecutors and police trying to hide something by blocking DNA testing of crime scene evidence? There are so many red flags in Rodney Reed’s case. Why the rush to execute him now?”

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Sr. Helen Prejean: Rodney Reed is innocent; the legal system is racist

Renowned anti death penalty advocate Sister Helen Prejean will be speaking in Austin in support of Rodney Reed tomorrow, February 15. In an interview today, she discussed her commitment to Rodney’s case, citing both Rodney’s innocence and the racism at play in American courts.

“Prejean says state and local authorities’ ongoing refusal to further investigate Reed’s case is par for the course in the American legal system and society.

“If you don’t equally value your citizens in life, you won’t value them in death,” she told Al Jazeera on Saturday, referring to the what some rights advocates across the country call white police officers’ extrajudicial killings last year of black men including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York.

Prejean said that in the 1987 case McClesky v. Kemp, Supreme Court justices acknowledged that “race plays a role in the death penalty, but they said that it would be too costly to remedy it. You have the highest court of the land acknowledging racism in the justice system, and saying it’s too costly to fix it.”

“That’s all the fabric of the legal system, that we have incurable racism,” she said.

Read the whole piece at Al Jazeera, including a statement of support from Stacey Stites’ cousin, Kay Hart.

Sister Helen will be speaking on Sunday, Feb. 15 at the Friends Meeting of Austin at 2:00PM. More information can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/806970449371590/