AUSTIN (KXAN) — Protesters rallied at the governor’s mansion on Saturday in an effort to halt the execution of Rodney Reed 11 days before his scheduled date.
This comes after death row exonerees delivered a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott Friday asking him to halt Reed’s execution date of Nov. 20 because of new evidence that has come up related to the decades old case.
Reed was sentenced to death row after he was found guilty of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites. Stites’ body was found dumped on the side of a Bastrop road after she didn’t show up for work one April 1996 morning.
A national civil right’s attorney says the state needs to look at evidence not presented at Rodney Reed’s original trial.
“We know that the belt that was used to kill Stacey Stites is available,” Civil Right’s Attorney Lee Meritt said. “It’s in evidence. It has not been tested.”
Meritt also says expert testimony has been recanted and that there’s proof of a consensual sexual relationship between Stites and Reed. Some of Stacey’s family members support that.
“My aunt said to me was that Rodney would come into HEB and visit her while she was at work,” Stacey’s cousin Heather Campbell Stobbs said.
KXAN interviewed Stacey’s sister back in March of 2018. It was then that she denied the connection between Rodney and Stacey.
“Stacey didn’t know Rodney. Not at any time were they having an affair,” said Deborah Oliver, Stacey’s sister.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officers from around the county have come forward in support of Reed’s innocence.
“I looked at the autopsy report and I said he didn’t kill this young lady,” Kevin Gannon, Former NYPD Homicide Detective said. “They said how do you know. I said we’ll she’s been dead for 24 hours, but she’s been missing for 12.”
A recent jailhouse informant revealed that Jimmy Fennell, Stites’ fiance at the time of her death, allegedly confessed to a fellow prisoner while serving a 10-year sentence for raping a woman that was in custody while he was on duty as a Georgetown Police officer.
This evidence, some argue, should prompt the execution to be halted and for the appropriate parties to review new developments. Celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Beyonce have spoken out on the case as well, asking Gov. Greg Abbott to use his power and intervene.
Texas senators also signed a bi-partisan letter asking Gov. Greg Abbott to grant Reed a reprieve, and others have spoken out on the issue.