HOUSTON — Supporters of a Texas death row inmate who is facing lethal injection in less than two weeks for a murder he says he didn’t commit are mounting a final push in the courts and on social media to stop his execution, which is being called into question by lawmakers, pastors, celebrities and the European Union.
Rodney Reed is set to be executed on Nov. 20 for the killing of 19-year-old Stacey Stites near the Central Texas city of Bastrop. Prosecutors have steadfastly insisted that Reed raped and strangled Stites as she made her way to work at a supermarket around 3:30 a.m. on April 23, 1996.
Reed, 51, has long maintained he didn’t kill Stites and that her fiance, former police officer Jimmy Fennell, was the real killer. Reed says Fennell was angry because Stites, who was white, was having an affair with Reed, who is black. In recent weeks, Reed’s attorneys have presented affidavits in support of this, including one by a former prison inmate who claims Fennell bragged about killing Stites and referred to Reed by a racial slur. Reed’s lawyers say other recent affidavits corroborate the relationship between Stites and Reed.