North Texas Daily

Rodney Reed should not be executed

Rodney Reed should not be executed

Rodney Reed should not be executed
November 15
12:15 2019

Rodney Reed is an innocent man.

Yet, he faces execution despite almost overwhelming evidence that proves his innocence. On Nov. 20, Reed is set to be executed for a crime that he did not commit.

In 1998, Reed was convicted and sentenced to die for the murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites in 1996. Stites’ body was found dumped on a country road in Bastrop, Texas with marks around her neck and semen inside of her. After the semen was tested, it was found to belong to then 29-year-old Reed. Reed denied knowing Stites at the time, but later admitted to having an affair with her. Reed and Stites had sex just days before she was found murdered, which would explain why his semen was found inside of her.

Stites was engaged to a white cop named Jimmy Fennell who had found out about the affair and had threatened Reed soon after. Fennell was originally a person of interest in the murder of Stites, but after Reed’s DNA was found inside Stites, Fennell was dropped as a suspect. Besides this though, Fennell was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the kidnapping and rape of a person in his custody in 2007 when he was a Georgetown police officer. But in 2018, Fennell was released from prison six months before his 10-year sentence was to be completed.

Earlier this month in an affidavit filed in court by Arthur Snow Jr., Fennell apparently confessed to the murder of Stites to former inmate Snow Jr. in 2010 when Fennell bragged to Snow that “I had to kill my n—-r- loving fiancé.”

According to Snow, “Fennell felt safe, even proud, sharing this information with me because I was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and I think Jimmy assumed that his confession would impress me and earn him credibility with the Aryan Brotherhood.”

Even with all of this evidence mounting against Fennell, Reed is still on death row 21 years after his false conviction of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites. Thankfully, there has been a massive outcry against falsely executing Reed.

His own legal team has filed an application for clemency to attempt to block his execution and notable celebrities like Kim Kardashian-West has urged Texas Gov. Greg Abbott “TO DO THE RIGHT THING,” in a tweet posted last month. Rihanna and Meek Mill have also spread their support for the freedom of Reed on their Twitter accounts by tweeting a petition to free Reed. In addition to celebrity outcry, roughly 1,000 people, including Reed’s mother Sandra Reed, gathered outside the Texas Governor’s mansion in Austin, Texas earlier this month to fight for the freedom of Reed, as well.

What seems massively ironic about this too is that early last month, Amber Guyger was sentenced to only 10 years for the murder of Botham Jean in his own apartment, and Aaron Dean, the ex-Fort Worth police officer who shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson in her own home, was released on bond the same day that he was booked into Tarrant County Jail after being charged with Jefferson’s murder.

It’s a flaw in the Texas justice system to give out improper punishments to two white police officers who murdered two innocent black people, meanwhile an innocent black man still remains on death row with a current execution date to his name.

While Reed’s execution date is dangerously close, there is still time for Texas to realize that executing Reed would be a horrific and misguided decision, as they would be executing an innocent man. For more information about the case of Reed and to sign the petition for his freedom, visit freerodneyreed.com.

Featured Illustration: Jeselle Farias 

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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