Having reviewed the facts of Rodney Reed's case, I believe him to be an innocent man wrongly imprisoned. I call on the State of Texas to grant Rodney Reed a new trial, where evidence of his innocence can finally be heard.
- THE STATE OF TEXAS, Governor Rick Perry, and Judge Reva Towslee-Corbett
I just signed the following petition addressed to the State of Texas, Governor Rick Perry, and Judge Reva Towslee-Corbett.
We Demand Justice: FREE RODNEY REED!
Rodney Reed has been on Texas death row since 1998. He was convicted of killing Bastrop woman Stacey Stites in 1996. In March of 2006, a new evidentiary hearing was held in front of Judge Reva Towslee-Corbett (daughter of the original trial judge). The judge heard testimony from several witnesses that linked Stacey's fiancée and former Giddings police officer Jimmy Fennell to the crime. The defense also showed how eyewitness testimony and other evidence was hidden from the defense at the time of trial. However, Judge Towslee-Corbett did not recommend a new trial. In 2008, the CCA denied Rodney's appeal, sending the case back into federal court.
Hidden eyewitness evidence is not the only problem in this case. Consider these facts:
• The prosecution’s only evidence linking Rodney to the crime was semen DNA taken from Stacey’s body. However, defense attorneys at trial failed to call witnesses to testify to a known sexual relationship between Rodney and Stacey, which accounted for the DNA evidence.
• During the initial investigation the main suspect was Fennell, who was Stacey’s fiancée. Fennell failed a polygraph test on the question “Did you strangle Stacey Stites?”
• Police failed to search Stacey and Fennell’s apartment, the last place she was known to be alive. Additionally, police released the truck Stacey was driving the night of the murder to Fennell, who sold the truck a few days later.
• Two beer cans found at the scene of the crime tested positive for the DNA of at least one police officer. This test was not reported to the defense at the time of the trial.
• At the 2006 hearings, Martha Barnett testified to seeing Stacey and Fennell together the morning of the murder. Mary Blackwell testified that during a police academy class she overheard Fennell saying that he would kill his girlfriend if she cheated on him, and that he would strangle her with a belt, which was how Stacey was killed. Both women testified that they had shared their stories with the prosecutors at the time of trial.
• Defense attorney's have shown a pattern of violence on the part of Fennell, including his history of stalking and threatening former girlfriends. Fennell was recently sentenced to prison for the rape of a woman who was in his custody while he was on duty as a police officer in the city of Georgetown, TX.
• Rodney Reed, a black man, was found guilty of murdering Stacey Stites, a white woman, by an all white jury in Bastrop. Statistics have shown that racial bias exists in the application of the death penalty, including the fact that although over 50% of murder victims are black, over 83% of the victims in death penalty cases are white.
Lily Hughes started this petition with a single signature, and now has 342 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.