source: The Emory Wheel
published: 8 October 2019
The American justice system should be on death row. With each day that innocent people await execution for crimes they did not commit, the very institutions meant to ensure justice become engines of inequality and inhumanity.
Rodney Reed, who maintains his innocence to this day, is scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas on Nov. 20, 2019 for the rape and murder of Stacey Stites in 1996. His case proves the sheer inadequacy of capital punishment in the United States, and his state-sanctioned death would further erode a system that has been injected with injustice. It’s long past time for Texas to set Reed free and for the U.S. to abolish the death penalty..
According to Reed’s defense attorneys, new evidence based on expert testimony exonerates Reed and implicates Stites’ fiancee Jimmy Fennell, a Bastrop County police officer at the time of the murder who was later convicted of and imprisoned for kidnapping and sexual assault. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Reed’s motion to review this evidence, and prosecutors filed to schedule his execution date shortly thereafter.
The new evidence that Reed’s defense wants reviewed could be damning, but not for Reed. Last year, the medical examiner in the case retracted his testimony as three highly credible experts found even more support for the theory that Fennell raped and murdered Stites. Despite these developments, prosecutors seem unconcerned with revealing the truth. Instead, they appear more committed to killing a man from whom they have already robbed 20 years of freedom.