Rodney Reed, Texas

  

Updated: Monday, November 18, 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 has been stayed. 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 prior to 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 located later that day, partially clothed, with a broken pants’ zipper and a broken belt, that matched a piece of belt found near the vehicle Stacey was driving. There were two beer cans lying across the road 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 he was sentenced to death in 1998.

 

Reed has always claimed his innocence, saying that he and Stacey had been having an affair and that they saw each other shortly before she was murdered. Reed 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, a black man, and Stacey, a white woman, were having an affair. Reed also alleges that police never fully investigated him as a suspect, such as searching 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.

 

Since Rodney Reed has been given a new execution date, a growing number of people, including celebrities such as Kim Kardashian-West, Rihana, and Beyonce have been calling on Governor Greg Abbot to grant Rodney a reprieve and allow for DNA testing on the murder weapon.  A petition to halt Rodney's execution has also gone viral, with over 2 million signatures.  Additionally, new witnesses have allegedly come forward willing to testify that Jimmy had made numerous statements about killing Stacey if she was having an affair with a black man.  Supporters of Rodney have also attempted to argue that Rodney, who is a black man, did not receive a fair trial, as he had an all-white jury. Rodney  has gained a following of supports including Sister Helen Prejean and Kim Kardashian West. Rodney's case has also been featured on several television shows.  

 

Rodney has been granted a stay of execution by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, until further order of the court.  The stay has been granted, in order to examine claims that the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence and sponsored false testimony at Rodney's trial.   The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has determined that the case should be sent back to trial court to consider the issue.

 

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Stacey Stites. Please pray for strength for the family of Rodney. Please 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, if he has not already.

 

  

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