Supporters Turn to Governor and Courts as Execution Nears

Rodney Reed's team builds case that Stacey Stites' fiance killed her
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2019 6:00 PM CST
Supporters Turn to Governor and Courts as Execution Nears
Rodney Reed, waving to his family in court in 2017, is on death row in Texas.   (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

The legal wheels are turning as Rodney Reed sits in a Texas prison, less than two weeks from his scheduled execution. New witnesses, he says, implicate the victim's fiance, Jimmy Fennell, in the rape and killing of Stacey Stites in 1996. An inmate says in an affidavit that Fennell confessed to the slaying, NBC reports. Reed's team is trying to get new analyses of forensic evidence considered, and he has appeals pending as high as the US Supreme Court. The Innocence Project is working on his case. Celebrities have issued pleas on his behalf. Behind bars, Reed can only wait for news. "I'm thinking about family, thinking about my freedom, thinking about my life," he says.

On Tuesday, 26 Texas legislators of both parties urged the governor to grant a reprieve until the new evidence is considered, per the Washington Post. There's been no comment from the governor's office since. "I think that everybody recognizes the kind of damage that an execution in a case like this would do to the integrity of our system," a lawyer with the Innocence Project says. Texas executes more convicts than any other state, and one expert says there's less than a 3% chance that someone convicted and sentenced to death in the state will win a reprieve. Reed says he still has hope. "I don't feel beaten down," he tells NBC. "I mean, I'm a believer. You know? I'm a believer." (More Innocence Project stories.)

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