Yesterday, attorneys for Rodney Reed filed a new appeal in Bastrop County based on new witness testimony and forensic evidence that supports their client’s innocence. Reed is scheduled to be put to death by the State of Texas on March 5 for the 1996 murder of Stacy Stites. Reed claims that he and Stites were romantically involved. His supporters point to another suspect with a history of violence: Stites fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for raping a woman in his custody as a Georgetown police officer in 2007.
According to the Texas Tribune, three out-of-state forensic examiners who reviewed the case believe that Stites was likely killed hours earlier than previously thought and that her body was moved after she was killed. Terri Langford writes “If true, those findings significantly challenge the timeline prosecutors used to convict Reed of Stites’ murder during his 1998 criminal trial.”
On November 25, 2014 a state district judge in Bastrop County denied Reed’s request for expanded DNA testing of evidence in his case.
Reed’s attorneys also filed affidavits from two new witnesses who confirmed Reed’s affair with Stites.
Attorneys ultimately expect the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to consider this latest filing.
Read more from the Texas Tribune and the Austin American-Statesman.
Read a press release from the Innocence Project and take action to stop the execution of Rodney Reed. Email the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Greg Abbott through an action sponsored by the Innocence Project.
On Sunday, February 15th, the Friends Meeting of Austin will host a Press Conference and Meeting with Sister Helen Prejean in Support of Rodney Reed. The event will take place from 2:00 PM until 4:30 PM at the Meeting House (3701 E MLK Blvd, Austin). Sister Helen Prejean (acclaimed author of Dead Man Walking and TCADP Advisory Board member), Reed’s attorneys, and other Austin clergy are scheduled to speak. Family members of Reed and of Stacey Stites, will attend the event, as well. More information is available here.