Will Texas Execute an Innocent Man?

By Roy Douglas Malonson, Publisher HOUSTON – Rodney Reed is scheduled to be executed on November 20. Reed, who was convicted for the rape and murder of Stacey Stites in Bastrop, Texas in 1998 has maintained his innocence since his arrest. Reed has been on death row for the past 21 years, but there is substantial evidence that exonerates Reed and points to Ms. Stites’s fiancé, former police officer, Jimmy Fennell. Rodney Reed is a Black man and Stacey Stites was a White woman. Reed has claimed that he and Stites were involved in a sexual relationship at the time of the murder. Now, new witnesses which include Stites’s cousin and a co-worker, corroborate Reed’s claim that the two were romantically involved. In a taped interview, the co-worker reveals how Stites told her that she was having sex with a Black man named Rodney and that she was afraid what Fennell, her fiancé would do if he found out. Jimmy Fennell was originally a prime suspect in the case, and despite his conflicting statements about where he was at the time of the murder, he was ultimately shielded from prosecution for Stites’s murder. But, according to Reed’s attorneys, former Bastrop County Sheriff’s Officer Wayne Fletcher, has come forward with evidence that Fennell’s motive for killing Stites was that he had discovered that Stites was “fucking a ni%&$#”. At the trial, the prosecution’s case relied on a time of death between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. on April 23, 1996. According to the prosecutor, Reed intercepted Stites on her way to work, gained entry to the truck she was driving where he sexually assaulted her and strangled her to death. This apparent random attack resulted in no fingerprints, hair or other evidence connecting Reed to the truck even though he supposedly drove the truck to a remote location after the crime. The state buffered their position with testimony from experts stating that the sperm found on the decedent was left from a sexual assault contemporaneous to the murder. Since Reed’s conviction, nationally-recognized forensic pathologists have all concluded that Reed’s guilt is […]

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