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November 18, 2019

Rodney Reed's Execution Halted Indefinitely by Texas Appeals Court and His Case Has Been Remanded Back to the Trial Court

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Texas Death Row inmate Rodney Reed's execution was halted indefinitely by the Texas Appeals Court just a couple of days before his scheduled execution.

Rodney Reed was granted a stay of execution on Friday, just five days before he was scheduled to be executed for a murder he's constantly been insisting that he did not commit. 

New evidence points to Stite's fiance, Jimmy Fennell, who was allegedly angered by the fact that she was having an affair with a black man.

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Halting the Execution

The execution was blocked indefinitely by the Texas court of criminal appeals, sending the case back to the trial court in Bastrop county, where he was scheduled in 1998 for the murder of Stacey Stites two years prior. 

Although the court previously rejected multiple appeals, Red's lawyers insisted that new evidence supports his claim of innocence. 

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Pleas From Millions

Prior to the decision made by the court of appeals, millions of people, including influential celebrities, rallied behind Reed's cause, hoping for his case to gain the public attention it needed. 

Beyonce, Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna, and Meek Mill were some of the many who called for a petition to halt the execution, which garnered more than 3 million signatures to date. 

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A Possible Suspect

Stites, a white woman, was engaged to marry Jimmy Fennell. At the time of the investigation, Fennell failed two lie-detector tests and was a suspect before the police found Reed's DNA found inside her body. At the time, he was also being investigated for another case of sexual assault. 

New evidence points to Stite's fiance, Jimmy Fennell, who was allegedly angered by the fact that she was having an affair with a black man. While Reed previously denied knowing Stites, he then revealed that he was having an affair with her and was afraid of admitting this as a black man should not have been having an affair with a white woman.

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A Re-Opened Investigation

Aside from 3 million signatures from the general public, 26 Texas lawmakers sent a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott claiming that executing Reed without being sure of his guilt "risks eroding public trust not only in capital punishment but in Texas justice itself." 

Meanwhile, Stites' fiance, Jimmy Fennell, is no longer a police officer and was charged for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman under his custody in 2007. He served his sentence until 2018. 

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Now that Rodney Reed is being given another shot at life, his lawyers at the Innocent Project are about to fight for his innocence and his release from prison after being there for 21 years now. 

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