Rodney Reed, Texas
October 21, 2019
Rodney Reed was scheduled to be executed at 6 pm local time, on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. His execution was stayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Fifty-one-year-old Rodney is convicted of raping and murdering 20-year-old Stacey Stites on April 23, 1996, in Bastrop, Texas. Rodney has spent the last 21 years on Texas’ death row.
Rodney failed to complete his final year of high school and graduate. According to Rodney’s cousin, Rodney was working in construction before his arrest.
On May 11, 1996, Stacey Stites failed to report for work at her designated time. Stacey’s work called her mother, who called Stacey’s finance, Officer Jimmy Fennell, who began looking for Stacey, while her mother called the police to report her daughter missing.
The vehicle Stacey was driving was located at Bastrop High School parking lot. There was no broken glass and the driver’s side door was locked. Stacey’s body was found later that day. She was partially clothed and her pants’ zipper broken. A broken belt was found nearby that matched a piece of the belt found near the vehicle Stacey was driving. Two beer cans were lying on the road across from Stacey’s body.
Upon investigation, police eventually determined that Rodney Reed was the prime suspect for the rape and murder of Stacey. DNA testing confirmed that Reed had slept with Stacey shortly before she was killed. The pattern around her neck matched that of her belt, which was determined to have been the murder weapon, although Reed’s DNA was not recovered from the murder weapon. A jury convicted Reed and sentenced him to death in 1998.
Reed has always claimed innocence, saying that he and Stacey had been having an affair and that they saw each other shortly before she was murdered. He points to the lack of other physical evidence as proof of his innocence. Reed has alleged that Jimmy, who was originally a suspect by police, murdered Stacey after he discovered Reed and Stacey were having an affair. Reed also alleges that police never fully investigated Jimmy as a suspect and never searched the apartment Jimmy shared with Stacey. Additionally, the abandoned truck was never fully searched, as it was released in Jimmy’s custody before police could do so. Jimmy then sold the truck a few days later. Jimmy was later convicted of kidnapping and raping a woman, while he was on duty.
Supporters of Reed have also attempted to argue that Reed, who is a black man, did not receive a fair trial, as he had an all-white jury. Reed has gained a following of supports including Sister Helen Prejean and, most recently, Kim Kardashian West. Reed’s case has also been featured on several television shows.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Stacey Stites. Please pray for strength for the family of Rodney Reed. Pray that if Rodney is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be revealed before he is executed. Please pray that Rodney may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
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