Rodney Reed’s family continues fight for new trial

Rodney Reed being led into the courtroom. (Thomas Costley/KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas death row inmate Rodney Reed is just more than two weeks from his execution date. Family, friends and supporters of Reed met Sunday in Austin offering up prayers and signing petitions to take to state leaders. They are hoping to bring attention to Reed’s long fight for a new trial. Reed was convicted of abducting, raping and murdering Stacey Stites in 1996 in Bastrop.

“Every day is almost like a living nightmare,” said Rodney Reed’s brother, Rodrick. “You wake up with it on your mind. You go to sleep with it on your mind.”

Reed’s attorney filed a petition last week asking the court to consider new findings from three forensic scientists. He says they disprove prosecutors’ theory that Reed abducted and killed Stites, based on the time of death.

“We have to take a stand and we have taken that stand,” said Rodrick, “and we’re going to continue to take that stand.”

Stites’ cousin, Heather Stobbs, says while many of her family members believe Reed killed Stites, she’s convinced otherwise.

“With as many doubts about the case as I have, I don’t feel like I could live with not saying anything,” Stobbs said.

She and many others who think Reed is innocent believe that Stites’ fiance, Jimmy Fennell, killed her. For Stobbs, it’s a difficult line to cross.

“There was always that doubt going around in the back of my mind,” she said. “I surely hope I didn’t sacrifice my relationship with my aunt and my cousins and all that.”

Meanwhile, Fennell is now in prison for a sexual assault he was convicted of while working as a Georgetown police officer in September 2008.

“More than a dozen courts have turned down every Rodney Reed appeal, and I’ll be shocked if ‘new time of death’ evidence persuades anybody,” an attorney who has represented Fennell said about the new appeal.

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