Rodney Reed Biography
Rodney Reed is a Texas native who was convicted of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites and was sentenced to death. Stacey Stites was a white 19-year-old bride-to-be engaged to a local Giddings police officer, Jimmy Fennell. He is set to be executed on November 20, 2019 but there is a petition to stop the execution as he is alleged to be innocent.
Rodney Reed Age
Rodney is 52 years old; he was born on December 22, 1967 Texas, United States.
Rodney Reed Girlfriend
It is alleged that Reed was in a secret affair with Stacey Stites before her death. DNA found at Stacey’s dead body was matching with that of Rodney.
Rodney Reed Crimes – Rodney Reed Rape
In 1998 Rodney was convicted and sentenced to death in 1998 for the rape and murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites two years earlier. She was white and engaged to Jimmy Fennel who was a white cop. Stacey was found dead on April 23, 1996 with her body dumped on the side of a country road outside of Bastrop. She was partially clothed and lying face up, her arms above her head. She had marks on her neck which led investigators to believe that she had been strangled with a length of braided leather belt which was left nearby. Sperm was collected from inside her.
The murder went unsolved for nearly a year before law enforcement tested the recovered DNA rest against 29-year-old Reed. They alleged that they were acting on a hunch. The DNA matched and formed the basis of the prosecution’s case. No other evidence tied Reed to the murder.
Reed initially denied known Stacey when he was initially questioned by police but he soon admitted to having affair with her. He claimed that the two had just had sex days before her death which would explain the matching DNA.
Rodney Reed Trial
Durial trial Reed had various witnesses who could testify to the relationship but most were not called as they were related to Reed. One woman who testified recounted meeting Stites at the Reed family’s Bastrop home.
During the early stages of the trial, Fennell was reportedly questioned by the police and was even subjected to a polygraph twice which she failed, including when asked if he’d strangled Stites. Polygraph exams are unreliable and are not admissible as evidence in court. Fennel further refused to cooperate with detectives and invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
When Reed’s trial began Fennell took the stand as a witness for the prosecution. He claimed that he and Stites got along well and had no “ongoing conflicts.” He claimed that on April 22, 1996 he got off work around 2 p.m. and he later went to coach a Little League team. He alleged that he got home around 8 p.m and spent the rest of the evening with Stites.
His evidence was disputed by Bastrop County sheriff’s deputy Curtis Davis, a friend of his, in 2016 during an interview with CNN’s ‘Death Row Stories’.Curtis recalled a conversation he had with Fennell shortly after Stites went missing. According to Davis on April 23, 1996, Fennell said that he’d stayed out drinking after Little League the night before and was not home with Stites as he’d claimed.
In a 2017 court hearing, Davis confirmed this story. Fennell refused to testify and instead offered a written declaration saying that if he was called to the stand, he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right and refuse to answer questions. He said he stood by his testimony at Reed’s trial.
Rodney Reed Petition – Stop The Execution of Rodney Reed
There is a petition which was started by Governor of Texas Greg Abbott to stop the death penalty of Rodney. The petition on change.org reads that Rodney was wrongfully convicted and despite the evidence of his innocence the state repeatedly denied a new trial and even refused to review the new evidence.
“The State of Texas wants to execute an innocent man on November 20, 2019. Rodney Reed was wrongfully convicted in 1998 of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites. He has sat on Texas’ Death Row for 2 decades.
Despite mounting evidence of his innocence, the State has repeatedly denied a new trial, refused to allow existing evidence into court, and even refused to review new evidence.”
Rodney Reed Innocence Project
The Innocence Project is the lead on Reed’s case. They have argued that Rodney’s DNA found on Stites’ body was because they were involved in a consensual sexual relationship. They have also noted that Reed, who is black, was convicted by an all-white jury. The group also says the murder weapon was never tested for DNA evidence and that forensic experts admitted to errors in their testimony, and that a former prison inmate claims someone else confessed to the murder that sent Reed to prison.
Fennell, Stites fiance, allegedly confessed to killing Stites, according to a former inmate who served time with Fennel. Fennell pleaded guilty in 2008 to charges of kidnapping and improper sexual activity with a person in custody while he was an officer in Georgetown, Texas. A woman he detained when he was responding to a domestic dispute call accused him of rape. He was sentenced to 10 years.
Rodney Reed Evidence – Rodney Reed Facts
According to the petition on change.org these are the existing evidence and facts;
A) PICKUP & APARTMENT. Stacey lived with her fiancé (Jimmy Fennell, Jr.) in an apartment in Giddings and supposedly drove to work in Bastrop using his pickup truck on the morning of her death. Forensic examination of the pickup discovered DNA belonging to only Fennell and Stacey. Nothing associated with Rodney was ever found in the pickup. Furthermore, local authorities (prosecutors and law enforcement) did not search the Giddings apartment—the last known location for Stacey before her disappearance and death.
B) BEER CANS. Stacey’s body was discovered out in the middle of nowhere, about 5 yards off a dirt road under some scrub oak. Two empty beer cans were found nearby. Two different kinds of the same brand, one can crushed and the other was not. That indicated 2 different drinking behaviors and likely 2 different people. Rodney and Stacey? Not this time! DNA analysis came back indicating that they belonged to 2 local police officers with whom Fennell worked as a cop. This evidence was withheld from the defense during the trial. So much for due process. This alone should require a new trial.
C) THE BELT. The prosecutor’s theory is that Stacey was murdered as a result of ligature strangulation. Choking someone to death manually (by hand or arm-bar) or with a ligature (a rope, electrical cord, wire, or belt) requires physical strength and causes substantial injuries to the victim. Segments of a woven leather belt was recovered on the ground near the body and near the pickup. Tests demonstrated that the belt had not been cut. It had been torn in two. That would have required an incredible amount of force; force that would have caused significant physical injuries to Stacey had it been used in strangulation. However, Stacey did not show any of the typical signs of strangulation upon examination at the time of her autopsy: no injuries to her neck strap muscles, intact hyoid bone, intact cricoid cartilage, and no petechiae. Regardless, the belt remains a crucial piece of evidence that has never been tested for DNA.
D) SEMEN. Semen was recovered from the victim and analyzed for DNA. It was determined to belong to Rodney. The description of the semen given by the medical examiner who performed the autopsy indicated that they were falling apart and older than 24 hours – that is, before Stacey disappeared. The medical examiner has since recanted his testimony regarding the validity of the DNA. Rodney and Stacey were involved in a consensual sexual relationship that had not been broken off even though she was engaged to Jimmy Fennell, Jr.. Testimony from numerous witnesses confirming this affair was never heard in court. Rodney and Stacey had been together the night before her disappearance.
E) VIOLENT HISTORY. Jimmy Fennell, Jr., had a history of sexual violence and threats. Fennell failed a polygraph test twice about Stacey’s murder. The question he failed both times was his response to “did you kill Stacey?” He answered no! Fennell was released from prison in 2018, after serving a 10-year sentence for raping a woman in 2007 while she was in his custody as a police sergeant in Georgetown, Texas. That victim stated that Fennell had told her that if she reported him, then he would hunt her down and kill her after he got out of prison.
New evidence showed that Stacey was murdered before midnight which is several hours earlier than the time proposed by the original medical examiner and the prosecuting attorney at trial. This time places Stacey in the apartment during the time that her fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, stated he was present with her.
Execution of Rodney Reed
Rodney is set to be executed on November 20, 2019. He has been on death row since 1998.
Rodney Reed Dr Phil
On October 11, 2019 Dr. Phil aired a two-part segment about Rodney.