In only six days, Rodney Reed is scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas. Everyone from Kim Kardashian to Rihanna have been begging for the Texas Governor Abbott to stop the execution of the Black man who was accused killing a white woman. DNA experts say it is “scientifically impossible” that he committed the crime. Finally, a Texas District Attorney is asking Abbot to stop the execution.
Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales wrote in a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott and the chairman of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, “Many people have reached out to urge you to grant a reprieve to Rodney Reed. I write to add my voice to theirs. We should not execute any person when there are unresolved doubts about their guilt.”
He continued, “There are simply too many unanswered questions surrounding the Rodney Reed case to continue forward with a November 20th execution. I do not know if Rodney Reed is guilty or innocent, but the harm done by executing a potentially innocent man is immeasurable. There is no harm in taking our time to ensure we get it right. Please use your power to halt this execution.”
See the letter below:
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.
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, there is still time to sign the petition here.
Reed also did an interview with Dr. Phil.
Hopefully, Governor Abbott makes the right decision, he surely hasn’t with Crystal Mason.