Effort to stop death row inmate’s execution grows

Crime News

AUSTIN, TX (KXAN) – There’s a growing push to halt the execution of a death row inmate in Texas.

Lawmakers, leaders and others hope Rodney Reed will have a new day in court.

The U.S. Supreme Court may consider reviewing his case Friday.

If nothing changes, Reed will be put to death next week.

“We don’t want to free Rodney Reed, we want Rodney Reed to have a new trial so he can free himself, so he can prove his innocence,” says Rodrick Reed, Rodney’s brother.

Reed was sentenced to death more than two-decades ago for the 1996 rape and murder of Stacey Stites.

“If we’re not in pursuit of justice what is really going on? We should be seeking justice, not just upholding convictions,” says Crystal Bird Caviel.

Nearly three-million people have signed a petition asking Texas Governor Greg Abbott to stop the execution.

Texas Republican representative Michael McCaul even wrote a letter on Reed’s behalf.

Lawyers with the Innocence Project say they have proof that exonerates Reed and implicates Stites’ fiance, Jimmy Fennell, who was a police officer at the time.

But, Fennell, like Reed, has supporters.

“I’m the one who really sat with him a lot and held his hand. He’s not the murderer in this case,” says Debra Oliver, Stacey’s sister.

“The real killer is Rodney Reed. The individual who raped and murdered her is properly on death row and will hopefully taste justice for his crime soon,” says Robert M. Phillips, Fennell’s attorney.

In 2008, Fennell pleaded guilty to kidnapping and improper sexual activity in a non-related case…and was sentenced to ten years.

Last month a former inmate who served time with Fennell said in an affidavit that Fennell confessed that he killed Stites.

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