“When we got the news, it was just this overwhelming sigh of relief and hope … He said, ‘Praise Jesus’ ... I could just feel his soul when he said that,” the 39-year-old media mogul and criminal justice reform advocate said in an interview with “Today.”
For the past month, Kardashian West has been urging Texas lawmakers, including Gov. Greg Abbott, to halt Reed’s execution, which had been scheduled for Wednesday.
Reed, a black man, has served more than 20 years in prison for the 1996 for the rape and murder of Stacey Stites, a 19-year-old white woman.
The main piece of evidence that led to his 1998 conviction by all-white jury was the semen found in Stites’ body, which came back as a match to Reed’s DNA. Reed claims the two were engaged in a consensual sexual relationship at the time of her death, and he has long maintained his innocence.
Reed’s legal team argued they have new evidence that Stites’ fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, admitted to killing her while incarcerated for an unrelated offense. Fennel, a former police officer, allegedly bragged to another inmate that he “had to kill [his] n*****- loving fiancée,” CNN reported.
Although Fennell was identified as a suspect during police's investigation into Stites’ murder, he was never charged in connection with the case, and his lawyer has denied the allegations.
Reed's legal team recently filed an application for clemency, claiming he was given ineffective counsel and that the state suppressed evidence and violated due process by presenting false testimony.
On Friday, the Texas parole board voted unanimously to recommend Gov. Abbot delay the execution for 120 days, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals later granted an “indefinite” stay of execution, NBC News reported.
“The most amazing thing I saw that came from this case was the bipartisan support,” Kardashian West said. “I mean, you had everyone from Ted Cruz to Shaun King on this case … They say that it takes a village, but it really takes a county. And it showed in this case.”
Kardashian West, who is currently studying to become a lawyer, told “Today” that Alice Marie Johnson impassioned her to pursue a career in criminal justice reform.
Johnson, a 64-year-old great-grandmother, was serving a life sentence for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense when Kardashian West came across her story online. The media mogul became personally involved in Johnson’s case in 2018, and she successfully lobbied President Donald Trump to grant her clemency.
“I always say Alice found me, and we were supposed to be on this journey together. It’s just been such a journey that I didn’t ever imagine I would be on, but I’m so glad that I am,” Kardashian West said.
The reality star’s newest venture, “Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project,” is an upcoming Oxygen documentary special that follows her efforts to "secure freedom for Americans who she believes have been wronged by the justice system.”
A premiere date has yet to be announced for the two-hour special, but Kardashian West has offered a behind-the-scenes look at the project, which promises to document “her mission to tackle one of America's most controversial subjects.”
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