Texas Death Row Inmate Rodney Reed Granted Stay of Execution

Amanda Cooper
November 16, 2019 - 8:13 am

(Photo Credit: We Demand Justice:Free Rodney Reed/Facebook)

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Supporters of a convicted murderer in Texas are celebrating a victory.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay of execution on Friday for death row inmate Rodney Reed. This week, Reed's attorney filed an appeal claiming that Reed is innocent and that investigators failed to disclose crucial information and relied on false testimony during his 1998 murder trial. In 1996 Reed, who is black, was convicted by an all-white male jury in Bastrop, Texas, for the murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites, who is white. During the 1996 trail, prosecutors claimed Stites was with her fiancé before she left for work, and during the drive, Reed intercepted her, raped and strangled her, and left her body in a remote area. They presented that Reed's sperm was found inside Stites' body as evidence of his guilt. Reed admitted that he and Stites had a consensual relationship, and he had sex with her the day before her murder; however, he still denies killing her. 

With new evidence that contradicts the 1996 verdict and implicates Stites's then finance. Celebrities Kim Kardashian West and Meek Mill, who are outspoken advocates for criminal justice reform, have voiced their support for Reed. Also, more than 2.9 million people signed a petition requesting clemency. 

The Innocence Project has helped Reed in the case, also celebrated the court's decision on Friday. In a statement, the group said, "We are extremely relieved and thankful that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) has issued a stay of execution for our client Rodney Reed. The CCA has ordered the claims of Brady violations, false testimony, and actual innocence in Mr. Reed's case back to the trial court. This opportunity will allow for proper consideration of the powerful and mounting new evidence of Mr. Reed's innocence," 

The stay of Reed's execution means the case will go back to a state judge in Bastrop County where he was convicted.