New witness says Rodney Reed is innocent, fiance of murdered woman confessed in prison

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new witness says Rodney Reed is innocent and that the fiance of the woman he’s accused of murdering bragged in prison about committing the crime.

Reed’s defense team submitted a sworn affidavit Wednesday night. In it, Arthur Snow said Jimmy Fennell confessed to killing his fiance, Stacey Stites in Bastrop County in 1996, saying she was “sleeping around with a black man behind his back.”

Reed was later convicted of Stites’ murder but has always maintained his innocence. The only evidence linking him to Stites is semen discovered in her body. Reed said the two were having a secret affair.

Reed is on death row and scheduled to be executed Nov. 20.

Jimmy Fennell_114738
Jimmy Fennell

Arthur Snow said his conversation with Fennell happened in 2010 while Fennell was serving a 10-year prison sentence for kidnapping and sexual assault. Fennell was a former Georgetown police officer convicted of raping a woman in his custody.

Snow said Fennell approached him for protection. Snow was a leader of the Aryan Brotherhood at Stevenson Unit in Cuero, Texas, serving time for forgery.

According to the affidavit, Snow said:

“[Jimmy] was talking about his ex-fiance with a lot of hatred and resentment. Jimmy said his fiance had been sleeping around with a black man behind his back.” By the way Jimmy spoke about this experience, I could tell that it deeply angered him. Toward the end of the conversation Jimmy said confidently, ‘I had to kill my n*****-loving fiance.'”

Snow added that Jimmy seemed proud to share this with the Aryan Brotherhood.

Snow said he did not come forward at the time for fear of being labeled a snitch but that after he had grandkids he started to look at the world differently and “let go of some of my prejudices.”

He said he came forward after seeing Reed’s name in the newspaper at the Hays County Jail.

The Innocence Project of Texas is working on Reed’s behalf. The sworn affidavit was part of a clemency petition that they filed Wednesday asking that the Board of Pardons and Paroles recommend Reed’s sentence be commuted to life in prison. Ultimately that decision will be up to Gov. Greg Abbott.

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