- Rodney Reed was granted an indefinite stay of execution over the weekend, days before he was scheduled to die.
- Reed was sentenced to death in 1998 for the 1996 murder of a 19-year-old woman named Stacey Stites.
- Reed’s mother, Sandra Reed, spoke to CBS affiliate KEYE-TV about her son, saying: “the truth will set him free.”
- The Innocence Project, Reed’s legal team, filed an appeal on November 11. They say new evidence will implicate Stites’ fiance in her death.
The mother of Texas death-row inmate Rodney Reed, who had his execution blocked over the weekend, voiced support for her son, saying: “the truth will and shall set him free.”
Rodney Reed was granted a stay of execution on Friday. He has spent 20 years in prison for the 1996 murder of a 19-year-old woman named Stacey Stites.
Reed’s mother, Sandra Reed, told CBS affiliate KEYE-TV on Saturday that she was “so happy” his execution had been blocked.
“We had witnesses that were intimidated, but now it’s a new day. Twenty years or more have passed and things are changing, and I think this case will bring about a change,” Sandra said. “The truth will and shall set him free.”
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted an indefinite stay of execution for Reed of Friday, hours after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended delaying the execution. His criminal conviction has not been overturned.
The Innocence Project, Reed’s legal team, filed an appeal on November 11 claiming the state had relied on false witness testimony. It also argues that new witness testimony could implicate Stite’s then-fiance, ex-police officer Jimmy Fennell.
In 2008, Fennell pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping and improper sexual conduct with a person in custody. He was sentenced to ten years in prison. According to an affidavit from Arthur Snow, a fellow inmate and member of the Aryan Brotherhood, Fennell confessed to the killing while they served together.
“Jimmy said his fiancé had been sleeping around with a black man behind his back. By the way Jimmy spoke about this experience, I could tell that it deeply angered him,” Snow said in the affidavit.“Toward the end of the conversation Jimmy said confidently, ‘I had to kill my N——loving fiancée.'”
Reed’s brother, Rodrick Reed, and sister-in-law Wana Akpin, held a “Free Rodney Reed” rally on Sunday, and celebrities including Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian West, Meek Mill, and Oprah have voiced support for Reed.
Kardashian West said on Instagram that she was with Reed when he learned his execution would be delayed.
“Words cannot describe the relief and hope that swept over the room in that moment,” she said.
She later told the “Today” show that it was an “extremely emotional” day.
“When someone has been through so much trauma and so much disappointment in their life that, especially when they feel like they haven’t been heard, you can imagine still a sense of disbelief,” she said, adding that Reed has a “history of just being let down for so many years.”
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