Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Halts Rodney Reed’s Execution
A man who had been scheduled to die by lethal injection next week for the 1996 strangulation of a woman in Bastrop will now have more time to argue his innocence.
Rodney Reed has served 21 years behind bars after being convicted of raping and killing 19-year-old Stacey Stites in 1996. Reed and Stites had been having an affair, and Reed and his supporters argue that Stites' fiance - ex-police officer Jimmy Fennell - murdered her out of jealousy. The Associated Press reports that Fennell was paroled last year after serving time for sexual assault. His attorney says his client is innocent.
Reed's lawyers have argued that their client was convicted using faulty evidence. The case was taken up by the Innocence Project, which reports a number of testimonial errors and a lack of DNA evidence. They've also highlighted the fact that Fennell was the prime suspect in the murder for months after it occurred.
Whatever the truth may be, Reed's case has caught the attention of top lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as well as celebrities. Almost 3 million people have signed a petition to stop Reed's execution, with thousands of others signing similar petitions.
On Friday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended delaying Reed's execution by lethal injection with a 120-day reprieve. Hours later, the Associated Press reports, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals recommended a delay as well. A proposal to commute Reed's sentence to life in prison was rejected.
As of Friday evening, it was not known if the Texas Attorney General's Office would appeal the order to stay Reed's execution.