source: The Appeal
published: 5 October 2022
The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case this term that will impact whether the state of Texas executes Rodney Reed for capital murder – even though it appears another man has confessed to committing the crime.
But the case is not about Reed’s innocence. It’s a case about whether Reed filed his legal claims in time. Lauren Gill first covered Rodney Reed’s efforts to prove his innocence for The Appeal in September 2019 and his efforts have since gained national attention.
In 1997, the then-30-year-old Reed was charged with killing 19-year-old Stacey Stites, after Stites’ body was discovered in bushes in Bastrop, Texas. Reed, a Black man, has always maintained his innocence but was convicted in 1998 by an all-white jury and later sentenced to death.
Medical examiners stated that Stites had been sexually assaulted prior to her death and found a small amount of semen that linked Reed to the woman.
The defense produced evidence that Stites – who was engaged to another man – and Reed had secretly been dating and argued that the presence of DNA was due to consensual sex. But the jury clung to the prosecution’s assertion that the idea of a romance between the pair was “ludicrous” and “preposterous.”