Rally marks Rodney Reed’s 52nd birthday, execution delay


Protesters say they're shifting all efforts to put pressure on Bastrop County District Attorney Brian Goertz

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — A group of people gathered outside the Bastrop County Courthouse office Sunday afternoon.

The last time they were there, it was to stop the execution of Rodney Reed.

This time, they were there to celebrate that win on his birthday.

Rodney Reed turned 52 years old Sunday.

“Today is a day of celebration,” Rodney’s brother, Rodrick, told the crowd.

Rodrick, Rodney Reed’s brother, embraces protest organizers Sunday. (KXAN/Tahera Rahman)

“He was scheduled to be executed on the 20th of last month. God has blessed us where he can see another birthday.”

Reed was convicted for the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites.

An appeals court has delayed his execution indefinitely until a judge hears the case again.

“Now, for the first time in the last 22 and a half years, the tide is finally turning,” Rodrick says.

But while the rally for Reed was a celebration, it was also a call to action.

“As we stand here right now my brother is still on Texas death row,” Rodney reminded protesters.

“He’s spent 23 of his birthdays locked in a six-by-10-foot cell and we’re saying we want him to be free,” says Randi Hensley, who helped organized Sunday’s rally.

Protesters are putting pressure on Bastrop County District Attorney Brian Goertz.

“In this building, he has the power to bring Rodney home and he’s chosen not to do that,” Hensley says.

She and other supporters want Goertz to drop the case against the man they say has mounting evidence that exonerates him.

“He’s the one that’s pushing for my brother’s execution. So, this is where we’ve got to apply the pressure and this is where we’re going to apply the pressure,” Rodrick says.

He hopes this time next year, it will be a very different celebration.

“He’ll be home and we’ll be celebrating with the whole family so we can be whole again,” Rodrick says.

Rodney Reed’s new hearing dates have not yet been set.

Reed has tried to appeal his case eight times in the past 20 years.

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