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TX: TV interview could help death row
Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:56

(CNN)Rodney Reed has spent nearly two decades on Texas' death row for the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites, which he insists he didn't commit. Now, he may get a chance at a new trial.
A Texas court has allowed Reed and his attorneys to present their case before a judge next month. They plan to argue that a videotaped interview raises questions about the whereabouts of Stites' then-fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, the night before her murder.

Police identified Fennell -- a former police officer who is currently in prison for rape -- as a suspect during their investigation into Stites' killing, but he was never charged.
"If the facts that are alleged are proven, and in this case it's essentially on video, then Mr. Reed is entitled to a new trial," said Bryce Benjet, an Innocence Project attorney who is representing Reed.
Reed and his attorneys have argued that forensic evidence linking Reed to the crime was the product of a hidden relationship between Reed and Stites. During the investigation of the murder, Reed told police he had never met Stites, a statement he now says he made out of fear he'd be treated unfairly because Stites was engaged to a police officer.
Rodney Reed, left, was convicted in the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites and has been on Texas' death row for almost 20 years.
Rodney Reed, left, was convicted in the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites and has been on Texas' death row for almost 20 years.
Fennell testified during Reed's 1998 trial that he and Stites were home together at the apartment they shared the night of April 22, 1996. Fennell testified that he stayed up to watch TV when Stites went to sleep around 9 p.m. When Stites left the next morning for her 3:30 a.m. shift, Fennell said he was asleep.
But in an interview with "Death Row Stories" videotaped last year, Fennell's friend and Bastrop County Sheriff's investigator Curtis Davis offered a different story.
Davis said that Fennell told him that he had been out drinking with some fellow officers the night of the 22nd and came home late, likely around 10 or 11 p.m. after Stites had gone to bed.
According to Davis, Fennell told him these details on April 23, 1996, as they waited for word on Stites' whereabouts. Police were searching for Stites after she failed to show up for work and the truck she had been driving had been discovered around 5 a.m. Her body was found later that day and a coroner determined she had been raped and strangled.
A full transcript of Davis' interview with "Death Row Stories" is below:

  • TX: New evidence in Rodney Reed casePetra., Mon Oct 26 12:58
    New evidence in Rodney Reed case highlights victim’s fiance By David Barer Published: October 23, 2015 AUSTIN (KXAN) — Attorneys for death-row inmate Rodney Reed have filed a motion in Bastrop... more
    • TX: TV interview could help death row — Petra, Tue Sep 12 12:56
      • TX: NEW DETAILS RODNEY REED CASEPetra, Sun Mar 4 12:26
        NEW DETAILS RODNEY REED CASE Reed case figure Fennell to be freed Ex-cop was suspect in fiancée’s death till DNA tied it to Reed. By Chuck Lindell Jimmy Fennell (left) had... more
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