Texas inmate set to be executed on March 5
Rodney Reed was given the best news of his life on Monday, when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay of execution for the inmate. Reed’s Lawyers have stated new evidence can prove his client is indeed innocent.
Staff attorney with the Innocence Project, Bryce Benjet said,
We’re extremely relieved that the court has stayed Mr. Reed’s execution so there will be proper consideration of the powerful new evidence of his innocence. We are also optimistic that this will give us the opportunity to finally conduct DNA testing that could prove who actually committed the crime.”
In his petition to the court, Reed’s lawyers argued new witness accounts and forensic evidence that warranted the court permitting Reed’s petition. Founded in 1992 by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, the Innocence Project in conjunction with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, a non-profit legal organization that focuses on exonerating wrongly convicted felons, using DNA testing. To date they have helped release 325 innocent people, 18 of those whom were on death row. In 2003 the Innocence Project became an independent 501(c)(3) non0profit organization in 2003.
In 1998 Reed was convicted of murder for the killing of 19 year old Stacey Stites in 1996. During Reed’s trial he stated he had a previous sexual relationship with Stites on and off for roughly five months; which would be the reason they found his semen in Stites body. Stites was engaged to police officer Jimmy Fennell at the time of her murder. Reed’s supporters claim Fennell found out about Reed and Stites affair so he killed Stites. Officer Fennel is currently serving a ten year prison sentence for raping a woman who was in his custody.