Update: Monday, January 12, 2015  12:26 pm, EST

 

Rodney Reed was scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CST, on Wednesday, January 14, 2015, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.  His execution has been rescheduled to March 5, 2015.  Forty-six-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 14 years on Texas’ death row.

 

The state requested that Rodney’s execution date be delayed until March 5, 2015, in order to allow time for DNA testing.  The request for additional testing was made last year.  A request for further DNA testing was recently denied by Judge Doug Shaver.

 

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 and Stacey 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.  Multiple appeals have rejected Reed’s theory.

  

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Stacey Stites.  Please pray for strength for the family of Rodney Reed.  Please pray that if Rodney is innocent, the truth 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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