As the fight for Rodney Reed’s life continues, hundreds of protestors gathered outside the Texas Governor’s mansion to demand a stay of execution for the death row inmate.
Reed, now 51, was convicted more than 20 years ago for the sexual assault and murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites in Bastrop, Texas, ABC News reports. Reed has claimed that he and Stites were engaged in a consensual relationship, and that Stites’ fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, is the one who actually killed her, and had even admitted it to another inmate while serving his own time for an unrelated charge.
Despite the emergence of new evidence, Reed is still scheduled to be executed on Nov. 20. As his case continues to gain popularity, hundreds of his supporters marched in circles around the home of Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday afternoon, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Among those calling for Abbott to intervene was Reed’s mother, Sandra Reed, who challenged Abbott to “take into consideration all of what you know, all of what you’ve seen and the evidence,” and take action, according to the outlet.
“Will you stop this wrongful and painful execution of my son? If you don’t, then you are just as guilty of murder,” she reportedly said.
Reed was convicted by an all-white jury in 1998, with prosecutors claiming as evidence that his semen was found in Stites’ body after her death, according to ABC News. But Reed has long maintained his innocence, and in an application for clemency that his legal team filed earlier this month, they claimed that Fennell even boasted about having murdered Stites, CNN reports.
Reed’s team claims that Fennell, a former police officer who spent time behind bars for sexual assault, told another inmate about the murder while serving time in DeWitt County, Texas in 2010, according to an affidavit obtained by the outlet. Arthur Snow Jr., who was in prison with Fennell at the time and was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, said that Fennell told him that his fiancée “had been sleeping around with a black man behind his back,” and that he’d “’had to kill [his] n*****- loving fiancé.’”
Fennell’s team has denied as much, and has claimed that Snow’s allegations lack credibility, according to CNN.
But Heather Campbell Stobbs, Stites’ cousin, also thinks that Fennell is the killer, the Star-Telegram reports.
“It’s not justice for Stacey to incarcerate and kill a man when there are so many questions about her death. And we owe it to her to get this right,” she reportedly said.
Reed’s case has caught the attention of numerous celebrities, including Rihanna, Beyonce, and Kim Kardashian, all of whom have shared messages on social media about his case.
“How can you execute a man when since his trial, substantial evidence that would exonerate Rodney Reed has come forward and even implicates the other person of interest,” Kardashian, herself known for championing the rights of inmates, said on Twitter. “I URGE YOU TO DO THE RIGHT THING.”
Reed has also gained the support of numerous politicians, including Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who appeared at the rally on Saturday and called Reed’s potential execution “unjust,” according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.