Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Rodney Reed On Death Row In Texas

Information taken from the Daily Texan online.

Daily Texan online

Rodney Reed has spent the last ten years on death row in a Texas prison. He was found guilty of the murder of 20 year-old Stacey Stites, whose body was dumped by the side of a road in Bastrop, Texas, eleven years ago.

Rodney is a black man who was found guilty of the crime by an all-white jury, in spite of what the lawyers presenting Rodney's appeal for a new trial, report as strong evidence linking other people to the crime.

"......including Stites' fiance Jimmy Fennell, to the murder. Last week, Fennell, who is now a police officer in Georgetown, Texas, was indicted by a grand jury on a charge of sexually assaulting a woman in custody at gunpoint, and he was placed on administrative leave from his job. At the time of Stites' death, Fennell was a police officer in Giddings, a town just east of Bastrop."

The evidence linking Jimmy Fennell to the murder of Stacey Stites is, according to the article, more compelling than that linking Rodney Reed.

"The amount of evidence pointing to Fennell in Stites' murder case is overwhelming. In two polygraph tests taken after Stites's murder, Fennell failed the question, "Did you strangle Stacy Stites?" According to a May 13, 1998, Department of Public Service report, fresh beer cans found at the crime scene contained DNA from Stites and two of Fennell's friends, police officers David Hall and Ed Salmela (the original investigator for the case). Furthermore, the truck alledgedly used to transport Stites' body contained fingerprints from only Fennell and Stites and was handed over to Fennell the day it was discovered. Fennell sold the truck the next day."

So, the truck which was allegedly used to carry the body contained fingerprints (allegedly) only from Fennell and Stites. It was returned to Fennell, who sold it the next day? There goes some of the evidence!

"The main evidence linking Reed to the murders is a semen sample containing Reed's DNA, which was taken from the scene of the crime. That can easily be explained by the sexual relationship he and Stites allegedly had before her death."

Beer cans at the scene of the dumped body, showing DNA from Stites and two of Fennell's friends, plus fingerprints in a truck, which was allegedly used to dump the body, only from Stites and Fennell. Semen from Rodney Reed at the scene. It appears to me that there is a strong case for a retrial.

"Reed has been sitting on death row for more than 10 years for a crime he very likely did not commit. The Bastrop County prosecutors should open the case and start a new investigation into his claims of innocence. In the meantime, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which has Reed's case in their hands, should order a new trial in which the jury can hear all of the new evidence."

More info at: Free Rodney Reed


Isabelle said...

Again it shows how corrupt America really is when all evidence is there...evidence against a police officer..as Governor of Texas you let arrest a black man close to scene and put him on death row rather than the real killer.

Anna Silvestro said...

I found this story quite shocking, Isabelle, especially the detail about the truck being returned to Fennell, the police officer, who immediately sold it. More evidence apparently pointing to Fennell, but Rodney Reed was found guilty. I hope Rodney gets a retrial.

Texas has executed more people than any other state since the Supreme Court voted to reinstate capital punishment in 1976.

Isabelle said...

Hi Anna,

Yes i know..All family members of my mother's side live in Dallas..Reality is that if your black in Texas you hardly stand a change, people for instance in Dallas are been told story's about the black community, how dangeous they are and to stay away from black area's...as you never know what they going to do to you..they could harm you or might even kill you, so you can imagine that most people in Texas don't really care....its a very conservative state, Home town of George W Bush & family... I don't think its any better elsewhere but i really hope that Rodney Reed will get a retrial as i don't think they do have enough evidence against Rodney..this way it wouldn't be a fair trial.

Lets keep are fingers crossed!

Anna Silvestro said...


I do think that Rodney deserves a retrial. With so much evidence pointing at someone else, that should be thoroughly investigated and I hope a retrial is granted.

I have been amazed at what I have read about Texas and attitudes to black people. Seems like the law has moved on a long way from the days of slavery, but attitudes in some places have not.

Isabelle said...

Anna unfortuntely not...prejudice against black people in Texas is still very much alive...It is that they not allowed to hold slaves....