AUSTIN (KXAN) — Death row exonerees delivered a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday, urging him to stop Rodney Reed’s execution.
Reed, who was convicted of the April 1996 rape and capital murder of Stacey Stites, is scheduled to be executed Nov. 20. But, he and many others have maintained he is innocent.
“Due to the new evidence and the deposition that was taken at the prison from another prisoner, we think that is the reason for it to be heard and at the same time, there are arguments going on with the DNA testing for the belt,” said Shujaa Graham.
Shujaa Graham and Juan Melendez, both exonerees, hand-delivered the letter to Gov. Abbott at noon on behalf of the organization Witness to Innocence, which is made up of exonerated survivors of death row. Melendez was exonerated in 2001 after 17 years on death row in Florida. Graham was exonerated in 1991 after three years on death row in California.
In the letter to Gov. Abbott, Witness to Innocence Executive Director Kirk Bloodsworth wrote, “I myself was the first person to be exonerated from a death sentence based on DNA evidence. It is unconscionable that we would execute a human being when DNA evidence is available that has not been tested.”
“If it wasn’t for DNA testing, people would still be in jail today,” Graham said. “This is a life and death situation.”
There have been 166 people in the U.S. who have been exonerated after wrongful convictions.