AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Monday, it was announced via the U.S. Supreme Court’s website that the controversial Rodney Reed murder conviction could be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court.
According to the Supreme Court’s website, the case is set to be distributed for conference on Jan. 10, which means it is up for consideration to be heard by the court.
BACKGROUND: Murder in the Lost Pines — The Rodney Reed Case
Reed was set to be executed Nov. 20 after being convicted of the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites, but an appeals court order issued on Nov. 15 delayed Reed’s execution indefinitely while Reed’s trial court judge hears from Reed’s side and the prosecution, over what Reed’s attorneys argue is new evidence in the case.
Stites, a bride-to-be who worked at H-E-B, was found dumped on the side of a rural road north of Bastrop after a search that began when she didn’t show up for work that morning.
Reed’s conviction was colored with doubt for decades, with many pointing to Jimmy Fennell, Stites’ fiance, as the killer. In October 2019, Reed’s defense team submitted a sworn affidavit by a man who was incarcerated with Fennell (who was in prison on unrelated charges) who said that Fennell confessed to killing Stites.
While the distribution for conference doesn’t guarantee the Supreme Court will hear the case, it’s a move toward what Reed’s family and supporters have been pushing for — for the nation’s highest court to give a new look at the case.
If the case doesn’t make it to the court, the decision will defer back to the lower courts’ ruling.