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 , which was not presented at trial despite numerous witnesses. 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 is now 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. 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 has a new appeal pending before the CCA, which includes explosive new findings regarding Stacy Stites' time of death:
"In the course of filming a recent A&E special about Rodney'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.
The CCA recently dismissed a motion for further DNA testing on important items from the crime scene, but has yet to rule on Rodney's latest appeal, which includes new evidence about time of death and several new witness statements corroborating the defense's alternate theory of the crime.
We, the undersigned, believe it is a travesty of justice to deny 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 Reed’s 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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