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Stop the execution of Rodney Reed

Will Texas execute an innocent person?

Texas has scheduled the execution of Rodney Reed for November 20, despite evidence that exonerates him and implicates the murder victim’s fiancé, Jimmy Fennell.

Cover Photo: Rodney Reed in Allan B. Polunsky Unit, West Livingston, Texas in 2015. Photo by Massoud Hayoun/Al Jazeera.

Cover Photo: Rodney Reed in Allan B. Polunsky Unit, West Livingston, Texas in 2015. Photo by Massoud Hayoun/Al Jazeera.

Rodney Reed in Allan B. Polunsky Unit, West Livingston, Texas in 2014. Photo by Jana Birchum/Austin Chronicle.

Rodney Reed in Allan B. Polunsky Unit, West Livingston, Texas in 2014. Photo by Jana Birchum/Austin Chronicle.

Here’s a look at who Rodney is today, and who he was before he was wrongfully convicted in 1998.

To know him is to love him.

— Sandra Reed, Rodney's mother

Brothers Rodney, age 2, in white, Ronald, Robert and Richard and a portrait of Rodney, age 4. Photos courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

Rodney Rodell Reed was born in California on December 22, 1967, to Sandra, a nurse, and Walter, a member of the U.S. Air Force.

Brothers Rodney, age 2, in white, Ronald, Robert and Richard and a portrait of Rodney, age 4. Photos courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

In grade school, Rodney woke up extra early to help me tie my shoes. He’d drop anything for me, which is one of the reasons why I fight so hard for him.

— Rodrick Reed, Rodney's brother

In high school, Rodney was on the football team, but had dreams of becoming a professional boxer.

Rodney, number 41, on the Hirschi High School football team in Wichita Falls, Texas. Photo courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

Rodney, number 41, on the Hirschi High School football team in Wichita Falls, Texas. Photo courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

Rodney was well-liked in high school and was a Texas Golden Gloves champion two years in a row. In 1988, he was invited to the U.S. Olympic trials.

— Rodrick Reed, Rodney's brother

Brothers Richard, Rodney and Rodrick Reed in the 1986 Hirschi High School yearbook. Photo courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

Brothers Richard, Rodney and Rodrick Reed in the 1986 Hirschi High School yearbook. Photo courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

Rodney’s high school senior portrait, age 18. Photo courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

Rodney’s high school senior portrait, age 18. Photo courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

Rodney’s dreams of becoming a boxer were not realized. In the early 1990s he moved to Bastrop, Texas and life took a turn for the worse.

In 1996, Stacey Stites was murdered in Bastrop and investigators aggressively interrogated her fiancé Jimmy Fennell, a local police officer. Jimmy was found to be deceptive on multiple polygraph tests.

Jimmy Fennell. Photo by Georgetown, Texas Police Department.

Jimmy Fennell. Photo by Georgetown, Texas Police Department.

Nearly a year later, Rodney was connected to the crime only because a small amount of his semen was found in Stacey’s body. Rodney maintained that he did not kill Stacey, with whom he’d had a private, consensual relationship.

Rodney in his early 20s. Photo courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

Rodney in his early 20s. Photo courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

Once Rodney was identified as the source of the sperm, the entire investigation changed direction from a murder to a murder and sexual assault.

— Bryce Benjet, Attorney for Rodney Reed

I was an easy target.

— Rodney Reed

Rodney Reed, left, and his attorney Bryce Benjet speaking at a hearing in Bastrop County in 2014. Photo by Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP.

In 1998, Rodney was convicted and sentenced to death based almost entirely on expert opinion that falsely claimed the semen found in Stacey’s body had to have been from a sexual encounter contemporaneous with the murder, thus implicating Rodney in her death. This testimony was false. In fact, the evidence is more consistent with Rodney’s account of a consensual encounter the day before her disappearance.

Rodney Reed, left, and his attorney Bryce Benjet speaking at a hearing in Bastrop County in 2014. Photo by Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP.

I was shocked because I didn’t do this crime.

— Rodney Reed

Three renowned forensic pathologists including Dr. Michael Baden have described the state’s theory of Rodney’s guilt as both “medically and scientifically impossible.”

The cover of the Bastrop Advertiser on May 30, 1998.

The cover of the Bastrop Advertiser on May 30, 1998.

Additional affidavits affirm Rodney and Stacey’s relationship, undermine Jimmy’s account of his whereabouts during her final hours, and illustrate an extensive pattern of Jimmy’s threatening behavior and incriminating statements regarding the murder.

On October 29, 2019 Arthur Snow, a former member of the Aryan Brotherhood and prisonmate of Jimmy, disclosed a conversation in which Jimmy confessed to him:

I had to kill my n*****-loving fiancée.

— Jimmy Fennell as told to prisonmate Arthur Snow

The only thing left of the State’s case is the residual prejudice that this relationship between a white woman and black man could not have happened.

— Bryce Benjet, Attorney for Rodney Reed

When you first hear about this case the racial undertones in it sound like To Kill a Mockingbird. That this happened in the late 1990s and is going on now seems backwards.

— Griffin Hardy, spokesperson for Sister Helen Prejean

Rodney Reed rally at the Texas Capitol in February 2015. Photo courtesy of Jaynna Sims.

Rodney Reed rally at the Texas Capitol in February 2015. Photo courtesy of Jaynna Sims.

Our family has done nothing but ask for a fair trial and all the evidence to be presented.

— Rodrick Reed, Rodney's brother

Left to right: Brothers Ryan, Richard and Ronald, parents Sandra and Walter, Chris Aldridge (Rodney’s cousin and alibi witness), and relative Norman Tarver in front of Bastrop County Courthouse in 2002. Photo by Jana Birchum.

Left to right: Brothers Ryan, Richard and Ronald, parents Sandra and Walter, Chris Aldridge (Rodney’s cousin and alibi witness), and relative Norman Tarver in front of Bastrop County Courthouse in 2002. Photo by Jana Birchum.

Sandra Reed, mother of Rodney, in 2017. Photo by Ralph Barrera / Austin American-Statesman via AP.

Sandra Reed, mother of Rodney, in 2017. Photo by Ralph Barrera / Austin American-Statesman via AP.

There are so many mothers like me who don’t even have a voice. It hurts so deep you can’t even describe it.

— Sandra Reed, Rodney's mother

Rodney’s mother Sandra Reed speaking to the media in Bastrop, Texas before an event to rally support for her son Rodney in March 2019. Photo by Scott Cobb.

Rodney’s mother Sandra Reed speaking to the media in Bastrop, Texas before an event to rally support for her son Rodney in March 2019. Photo by Scott Cobb.

Rodney remains focused on proving his innocence with the help of the loyal supporters who have stood with him and his family over 22 years on death row.

Reed family and supporters at a rally in Bastrop, Texas in July 2019. Photo courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

Reed family and supporters at a rally in Bastrop, Texas in July 2019. Photo courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

My whole focus has been on getting out of this place and being back with my family.

— Rodney Reed

Rodney Reed in Allan B. Polunsky Unit, West Livingston, Texas in 2019. Photo courtesy of Tiffany McMillan.

Rodney Reed in Allan B. Polunsky Unit, West Livingston, Texas in 2019. Photo courtesy of Tiffany McMillan.

Rodney is confined to a 60-square-foot cell for 23 hours a day with a small slit for a window. He has not been able to embrace his family in more than 22 years.

Screenshot from Dr. Phil’s visit and interview with Rodney Reed at Allan B. Polunsky Unit in West Livingston, Texas, September 2019.

Screenshot from Dr. Phil’s visit and interview with Rodney Reed at Allan B. Polunsky Unit in West Livingston, Texas, September 2019.

I miss being able to see the moon and trying to count the stars. We have this little window with slits; sometimes I can look out and you can’t see them, but you know they’re there.

— Rodney Reed

Rodney’s nephew, Rodrick Jr. demonstrating for Rodney’s case on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2019. Photo courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

Rodney’s nephew, Rodrick Jr. demonstrating for Rodney’s case on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2019. Photo courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

Free Rodney Reed.

— Rodrick Reed Jr.

No matter how hard it gets, we will not stop.

— Rodrick Reed, Rodney’s brother

Rodrick, Rodrick Jr., and Sandra visiting Rodney at the Allan B. Polunsky Unit in West Livingston Texas. Photo courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

Rodrick, Rodrick Jr., and Sandra visiting Rodney at the Allan B. Polunsky Unit in West Livingston Texas. Photo courtesy of the Reed Justice Initiative.

My brother wants everyone to act. Prayer without action is dead.

— Rodrick Reed, Rodney's brother

Rodrick Reed speaking to the media in Bastrop, Texas before an event to rally support for his brother Rodney in March 2019. Photo by Scott Cobb.

Rodrick Reed speaking to the media in Bastrop, Texas before an event to rally support for his brother Rodney in March 2019. Photo by Scott Cobb.

Stop the execution of Rodney Reed

Call Governor Abbott and The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to stop this execution today: 737-210-4800

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© 2019 Innocence Project – Website by Madeo

© 2019 Innocence Project – Website by Madeo