Rodney Reed Supporters Spend Night Outside Texas Governor's Mansion

Alan Scaia
November 15, 2019 - 7:01 am
Rodney Reed

Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File

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AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - Supporters of a man on Texas Death Row camped outside the governor's mansion Thursday night, calling for a reprieve.

Rodney Reed is scheduled to be executed next Wednesday for killing a 19 year old woman in Bastrop County in 1996. Reed was sentenced to death in 1998, but he says he is innocent.

The Innocence Project is representing Reed. Reed's lawyers say DNA evidence was never tested and new witness statements prove Reed's innocence.

The Innocence Project says witnesses have supported Reed's claim that he was in a relationship with Stacey Stites. They say Stites was engaged to someone else, and her fiance killed her.

Stites' fiance is a former police officer who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2007 for kidnapping and raping a woman in his custody. Another prisoner says Jimmy Fennell confessed to him that he had killed Stites.

Fennell's lawyer has said that prisoner was trying to "lighten his load at Jimmy's expense." Robert Phillips says several other people have accused Reed of sexual assault, but he was never convicted.

The Innocence Project says three additional witnesses have come forward to corroborate claims that Fennell has admitted to the killing.

Reed's supporters held a vigil and said they would camp outside the governor's mansion from 7 p.m. Thursday through 7 a.m. Friday. They want Greg Abbott to sign a 30 day reprieve.

"There is a grave injustice happening, and the blood of an innocent man will be on his hands if he doesn't act immediately," one demonstrator said.

"They're using the death penalty as a tool to scare working people. They're trying to scare us," another said.

Earlier this week, a bi-partisan group of state lawmakers signed a letter to Abbott, asking him to grant a "reprieve until the new developments in this case are fully resolved."

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a petition to intervene Friday. The Innocence Project is also asking the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend Abbott grant a reprieve, and they have also asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, trial court and federal district court to intervene.

Abbott has not responded to protesters or the letter from state lawmakers.