Bastrop, Texas (CNN)The outcry is rising from an military of supporters, alongside with celebrities, clergy and verbalize lawmakers, making an strive to cease the execution of Texas death row inmate Rodney Reed, who is determined to die in less than two weeks.
Bastrop, Texas (CNN)The outcry is growing from an army of supporters, including celebrities, clergy and state lawmakers, trying to stop the execution of Texas death row inmate Rodney Reed, who is set to die in less than two weeks. Reed's execution is scheduled for November 20. More than 20 years ago, he was sentenced to…
Reed’s execution is scheduled for November 20. More than two decades previously, he became sentenced to death for the 1996 execute of 19-year-worn Stacey Stites in Bastrop, Texas, southeast of Austin. Police mentioned he assaulted, raped and strangled Stites. Reed mentioned he’s innocent. His attorneys instruct the execrable man became convicted. They reveal recent peep accounts and proof they instruct exonerates Reed.
More than 2 million folks had signed a petition on freerodneyreed.com as of Thursday. A Replace.org petition has garnered more than 300,000 signatures. Celebrities akin to LL Cool J, Kim Kardashian West, Beyoncé and T.I. possess voiced their reinforce for Reed, whose attorneys are attempting to salvage a recent trial. Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, and Democratic and Republican verbalize lawmakers made appeals this week to cease Reed’s execution.
But critics, alongside with the lead prosecutor in Reed’s case, instruct there is overwhelming proof that he’s responsible.
In an interview with CNN, Reed’s attorney, Bryce Benjet, mentioned the outcry “has essentially bolstered him.”
“That can also very neatly be a spot that any one who appears like at right here is going to know that right here’s a miscarriage of justice and that we can no longer move forward with this execution,” mentioned Benjet, a senior crew attorney at the Innocence Mission.
The Innocence Mission — which says Reed, who is black, became convicted by an all-white jury — points out what it says are weaknesses in the case. Amongst them, the execute weapon has never been examined for DNA proof and forensic experts possess admitted to errors of their testimony, which resulted in the conviction, the Innocence Mission mentioned.
Benjet in fact helpful CNN there’s a “a mountain of proof” that proves Reed’s innocence and points suspicion at Stites’ then-fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, a neighborhood police officer who became a suspect at the time of the investigation.
Fennell became never charged in the death of his then-fiancée.
Fennell testified for the interval of Reed’s 1998 trial that he and Stites were house together at the residence on the night of April 22, 1996. Fennell testified he stayed as a lot as glance TV when Stites went to sleep spherical 9 p.m. When Stites left the next morning for her 3:30 a.m. shift at a food market, Fennell mentioned he became asleep.
Stites’ pickup became found deserted in a high faculty car parking zone. Her in part clothed body became found off a rural avenue. She became 18 days petrified of her wedding day, in step with an opposition brief filed by prosecutors in the Supreme Court of the USA.
Reed became a suspect in Stites’ killing after he became arrested for kidnapping, beating and making an strive to rape and raze one other girl, 19-year-worn Linda Schlueter, plot the identical route Stites on the total took to work at the time she disappeared, prosecutors mentioned of their Supreme Court submitting.
The similarities of the case led authorities to evaluate. Law enforcement had Reed’s DNA on file for one other alleged rape and it matched the DNA found on Stites’ body, the submitting mentioned.
In an interview with CNN, Schlueter expressed frustration with the rising reinforce for Reed.
“Rodney Reed is no longer innocent in any admire and all these folks that judge he’s innocent, I’m so sorry, they’re so blinded,” Schlueter, now forty two, mentioned about Stites’ execute.
Schlueter became among six girls who prosecutors mentioned Reed attacked or sexually assaulted. Reed became charged and acquitted in a single case, prosecutors mentioned. He became no longer prosecuted on the replacement allegations.
Benjet mentioned Reed has denied the sexual assault allegations, “which were never meaningfully vetted in court.”
Benjet mentioned the prosecution’s case became in accordance with the belief that Reed kidnapped, sexually assaulted and killed Stites within a two hour time span — all, Fennell mentioned, after the time she left for work that day. But forensic scientists for the appropriate crew instruct Stites became killed hours sooner than Fennell in fact helpful police she left for work, suggesting the execute took place for the interval of the time Fennell mentioned the two were in the residence, Benjet mentioned.
“This renders Rodney Reed’s guilt very unlikely and without delay implicates Jimmy Fennell in this execute,” Benjet mentioned. “And there’s more because even factual in the last month, recent witnesses possess near forward that reveal that Jimmy Fennell has made statements implicating himself in the execute.”
In 2008, Fennell pleaded responsible to charges of kidnapping and execrable sexual intercourse with an particular individual in custody while he became an officer in Georgetown, Texas, after a lady he detained, when responding to a home dispute call, accused him of rape. He became sentenced to 10 years.
A feeble inmate who served time with Fennell mentioned in an affidavit filed this month that Fennell confessed to the killing of Stites.
“Jimmy mentioned his fiancée had been sound asleep spherical with a black man behind his support,” wrote Arthur Snow Jr., who became serving a sentence for forgery in a Texas reformatory in 2010, in the affidavit.
“Toward the tip of the dialog Jimmy mentioned confidently, ‘I needed to raze my n*****- loving fiancée,'” he wrote.
One after the other, a feeble Bastrop County police officer named Charles Wayne Fletcher mentioned in an affidavit filed in October that Fennell confided in him in 1996, sooner than the execute, that he believed his fiancée became sound asleep with a black man.
Fennell’s attorney, Robert Phillips mentioned his consumer denies any involvement in Stites’ death. Phillips mentioned Fennell is no longer terrified he can also change into the purpose of curiosity of a prosecution inquiry if “some-hearted put off” grants Reed a recent trial.
Phillips brushed aside the affidavit from Snow, apart from claims from other recent witnesses announcing Reed is innocent, announcing or no longer it is disingenuous that folks are all straight away popping out of the woodwork. “Everybody in all these reviews is laughably lacking in credibility,” he mentioned.
“There’s no proof that’s obliging of presenting even to a extensive jury that Jimmy Fennell became by some ability enthusiastic,” Phillips mentioned
Lisa Tanner, a Texas deputy assistant attorney general who became the lead prosecutor for Reed’s case, maintained in an announcement that Reed is responsible.
“A sizable quantity of credible proof, alongside with irrefutable DNA proof, the testimony of witnesses, and the sample Rodney Reed adopted in committing his other sexual assaults, reveal previous an less dear doubt that he raped and murdered Stacey Stites,” Tanner mentioned.
The Innocence Mission mentioned Reed and Stites were angry a few consensual relationship.
Per Tanner, more than 20 judges possess reviewed the case over the previous two decades “and found no reversible error and no credible proof that somebody as a change of Mr. Reed might perchance perchance need been disposed toward committing this unsuitable crime.”
In a now deleted tweet highlighting the rising divide in the case, the Texas District & County Attorneys Association posted: “No longer definite how Reed’s supporters possess became him into the most trendy serial rapist since Michael Jackson.”
The submit mentioned, “nevertheless presumably that’s a real reminder why we don’t count on social media campaigns to resolve guilt/innocence or punishment.”
The association has apologized for the tweet.
Meanwhile, the chorus of supporters keeps rising.
A neighborhood of 26 bipartisan lawmakers this week wrote Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, who can imply clemency to the governor, urging a delay.
“Killing Rodney Reed without trot bet about his guilt can also exacerbate that field and erode public believe — no longer simplest in capital punishment, nevertheless in Texas justice itself,” the letter mentioned.
CNN has reached out to Abbott and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles for comment.
In an announcement, Vásquez, the bishop of the Diocese of Austin, mentioned there are sufficient doubts that “justice dictates a cautious review of the recent peep statements and other proof no longer too prolonged previously brought forward.”
“If the scheduled execution of Mr. Reed proceeds, there is sizable threat the verbalize of Texas will create a man who is innocent of this crime while permitting the responsible occasion to head free,” Vásquez mentioned.