Stop the Execution of Rodney Reed!
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The State of Texas may execute an innocent man. Rodney Reed was wrongfully convicted of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites in 1998. Semen collected from Stites’ body belonged to Reed, a fact that was explained by a consensual sexual relationship , evidence of which was not presented at trial, despite numerous witnesses who could testify to the affair. Nor was the evidence that Stites’ fiancé, Jimmy Fenell Jr., had a history of sexual violence and failed a polygraph test about the murder. Fennell was released from prison in 2018, after serving a ten year sentence for raping a woman while in his custody as a Georgetown, TX police officer. Other evidence that could clear Reed includes: DNA found on beer cans at the site that linked two police officers to the crime (withheld from the defense at trial); that police failed to search Fennell and Stites’ apartment; and threats Fennell had made that he would kill Stites if she cheated on him. Reed, a black man, was convicted of killing a white woman by an all-white jury. Over the years, Reed's defense has uncovered a mountain of evidence pointing to his innocence - and corroborating the defense theory that Jimmy Fennell was involved in the murder. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) and the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals both previously denied Reed the chance to present this evidence in open court.
Now Rodney Reed has a new appeal pending before the CCA, which includes explosive new findings regarding Stacy Stites' time of death and several new witness statements corroborating the defense's alternate theory of the crime.:
In the course of filming a recent A&E special about Reed's case (Dead Again: Dead Man Talking), an investigator came to the conclusion that Stacey was murdered several hours earlier than the time frame advanced by the original medical examiner and the prosecution at trial. Further examination of the forensic evidence by other experts proves that Stacey was murdered closer to 10 PM, placing her in the apartment she shared with her fiancé and former police officer Jimmy Fennell at a time when Fennell claimed to be home.
More recently, further new witness testimony was added to the appeal, based on evidence uncovered during a CCN documentary story about Reed's case. That evidence, as well as the new forensics evidence, was heard in hearings in early October of 2017.
Following the hearings, Judge Doug Shaver, presiding, sent a recommendation against a new trial for Reed to the CCA. The CCA has yet to rule on this appeal.
The CCA dismissed a separate motion for further DNA testing on important items from the crime scene. Rodney's defense team appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, who ruled in June of 2018 against more DNA testing.
We, the undersigned, believe it is a travesty of justice to deny Rodney Reed the chance to present the above evidence to a jury. We demand that Reed not be issued a warrant for execution, and that he be granted a new trial where the evidence of his innocence and Fennell’s possible guilt can be presented, and that the execution of Rodney Reed not go forward under any circumstances.
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