AUSTIN (KXAN/NBC) — Just two weeks before he’s set to be executed, NBC Nightly News aired a special report about Rodney Reed, a man convicted of a 1996 murder whose case has drawn national attention in recent weeks.
On Wednesday, NBC Nightly News aired a “Justice for All” report in which Ron Allen speaks to Reed in prison.
In the interview with Allen, Reed re-affirmed his innocence, saying “I’m innocent of this case. Absolutely innocent.”
Allen asked Reed if he believes he’ll get a reprieve. He received a stay of execution back in 2015 and has appealed his case numerous times throughout the years.
“If this governor — the DA, is willing to acknowledge the truth, these courts willing to acknowledge the truth, willing to acknowledge the science,” then he might get a reprieve, Reed said. He added that he believes a lot of people “know the truth right now.”
Reed’s case blasted into the national spotlight after celebrities, including Kim Kardashian-West, Rihanna and T.I., tweeted support for him. The Innocence Project has represented Reed for years during his appeals.
Reed was convicted in 1997 for the murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites, with whom he said he had a consensual relationship. He and his lawyers have argued that evidence points to Stites’ fiance, Jimmy Fennell, as the one who likely killed her. They’ve also called into question some of the states’ expert witnesses and tried to bring new evidence forward.
Reed re-iterated to Allen that he believes Fennell is “the real killer.”
“I mean, this is what the evidence says,” Reed told Allen. “The evidence points directly in that direction.”
Recently, a man who served time in prison with Fennell (on an unrelated kidnapping and sexual assault sentence) said that Fennell confessed to killing Stites because she was “sleeping around with a black man behind his back.”
But Fennell’s attorney, Robert Phillips denies Reed’s allegations, saying “He’s got great lawyers, very creative. They keep coming up with witnesses out of the woodwork.”
“If the criminal justice system would have done what they were supposed to do, thoroughly investigated this case, this is — this is a death penalty case,” Reed told Allen. “If they’d have thoroughly investigated this case, these witnesses, namely law enforcement, they wouldn’t be coming out today. None of this evidence would be coming out today. This science wouldn’t be coming out today. It would have been a wrap.”
At the end of July, a Bastrop judge signed the order for Reed to be executed Nov. 20. Reed’s attorneys had tried to submit a filing to stop the date from being set. On July 22, a Bastrop County Criminal District Attorney argued those motions were “improper and without merit.”
The clock is ticking toward Reed’s execution date and the case has appeals pending all the way up to the Supreme Court.