On November 20, a Black man is about to be executed by the state of Texas for killing a white woman. However, DNA experts say it is “scientifically impossible” that he committed the crime.
In 1996, 19-year-old Stacey Stites was murdered. By 1998, Rodney Reed, who was 28 at the time, was convicted of murder. Her body was found in Bastrop, Texas on the side of the road.
Reed was tied to the murder because his DNA was found in Stites’s vaginal cavity. However, Reed was having an affair with Stites, who was engaged to police officer Jimmy Fennel. A former co-worker of Stites confirmed the affair.
Reed has been on death row for over two decades and the Innocence Project is fighting for his life.
There are many discrepancies in the case. According to the Innocence Project a team of renowned forensic DNA experts have concluded that it is “medically and scientifically impossible for Reed to be guilty. The advocacy group reports, “The prosecution’s only forensic evidence linking Reed to the crime was semen taken from Stites’s body, which was attributed to the consensual relationship between them. The prosecution used this to connect him to the murder and refute this consensual romantic relationship, but supporting testimony has since been recanted and completely discredits the state’s case.”
In addition, for months, Jimmy Fennel was considered the main suspect and would later go to prison for 10 years for kidnap and sexual assault. The police stopped investigating him when they found Reed’s DNA in Stites vaginal activity — again, his DNA wasn’t found anywhere else that would indicate a murder. Fennel also gave conflicting accounts of where he was the night of Stites’s murder.
In addition, the murder weapon, which was a belt, was never tested for DNA evidence. Requests for DNA testing of crime scene evidence “has been repeatedly denied by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. In 2018, the United States Supreme Court declined to directly review the Texas courts’ denial of DNA testing.”
Reed was also convicted by an all-white jury. If you are outraged by this story, please sign the petition here.
Reed also did an interview with Dr. Phil.