Rodney Reed appeal rejected by U.S. Supreme Court


By: Chuck Lindell
Austin American Statesman
Monday, November 3, 2014

Shameful news out of the Supreme Court this morning! Rodney Reed is innocent! We must continue to fight for JUSTICE FOR RODNEY REED!

Rodney's legal team still pursuing DNA testing - there will be a hearing on November 25th for more testing. We will combine that with a march in Bastrop and another call in to the DA's office. Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime donate to Rodney's legal defense fund here: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/cpMJc/ab/93mX17

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The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not review an appeal by death row inmate Rodney Reed, putting the Bastrop man one step closer to a Jan. 14 execution date.

Reed’s appeal argued that he deserved a new trial because he received incompetent legal help during his 1998 trial.

The Supreme Court declined, without comment, to review Reed’s case. The decision lets stand a January ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which determined that Reed’s claim of innocence lacked credibility and that his lawyers performed adequately during his trial.

Reed was sentenced to death in the brutal rape and strangulation of Stacey Stites, a 19-year-old who died 18 days before her scheduled wedding to Jimmy Fennell, the man Reed’s lawyers argue was most likely to be her killer.

Stites, who shared a Giddings apartment with Fennell, was due to begin her shift at a Bastrop grocery store at 3:30 a.m. on April 23, 1996. She never arrived, and her body was found around 3 p.m. beside a rural Bastrop County road. The pickup she had been driving was parked about 10 miles away at Bastrop High School.

Reed’s lawyers argue that he is innocent and that Stites was murdered by somebody else — most likely Fennell, who years later was sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping a woman in his custody as a Georgetown police officer.

Reed has argued he and Stites were engaged in a secret affair, explaining the presence of his semen in her body and providing Fennell with a motive for murder. Several state and federal courts have rejected that claim during a string of appeals on Reed’s behalf.