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Join me in spending an evening with brother Anthony Graves, Death Row Exoneree #138, on April 25th from 6pm-7:30pm

Anthony Graves, Death Row Exoneree #138, speaking at his Smart Justice Speaker's Bureau event.

Family, I want y’all to join my immediate family and me on Thursday, April 25th from 6pm-7:30pm as we support our brother in solidarity Mr. Anthony Graves- United States Death Row Exoneree #138- at his event “Abolish the Death Penalty: an Evening with Anthony Graves”.

RSVP here: https://action.aclu.org/webform/tx-abolish-deathpenalty (or to the Facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/2157286261018813 )

Anthony and Rodney were on Texas Death Row at the same time for many years. Anthony spent 18 ½ years incarcerated for a murder he didn’t even know anything about. Twelve of those years were spent in hellish conditions on Texas Death Row. Rodney and Anthony also had the same prosecuting judge (Judge Harold Towslee), the same court appointed defense attorneys, the same Travis County Medical Examiner (Dr. Roberto Bayardo), and the same judge’s daughter (Judge Reva Towslee-Corbett) presiding over their appeals. Rodney and Anthony both were given execution dates.

We recognize Anthony as one of the most powerful advocates we have in this fight to free and exonerate Rodney. We are incredibly Blessed to have him as part of our extended family and are excited about collaborating with him more in the coming months! I can’t wait to see how God plans to work through Anthony to see to it that Rodney is freed and exonerated!

Anthony is doing God’s work, using his painful experiences and turning them around to do good. The work he is doing is beautiful and powerful!! Anthony founded an organization, the Anthony Graves Foundation, which provides training to people directly affected by flaws in the criminal justice system so they can effectively tell their unique stories for the purpose of creating change. Wana, RJ, and myself recently went to his “Telling Our Stories for Smart Justice” event this past Tuesday where people gave powerful testimonies of their pain and their trauma and their overcoming and how they’re using their own stories to effect necessary changes to our justice system and our society. Here is a link to the Anthony Graves Foundation: https://www.anthonygravesfoundation.org/

If you’re not familiar with this brother, this is a link to the Emmy Award-winning documentary Grave Injustice about his story:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m61xZ1zaAJs

Let’s go show our brother in solidarity our love and support! Let’s also see how we can all collaborate to abolish the death penalty. If you’re in Bastrop and plan to go, call me (but you’re more likely to reach me by text) at 512- two seven zero -1596. I hope to see you at 902 East 5th Street, Unit 105, Austin, TX 78702 at 6pm on Thursday, April 25th!

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How Can We Ensure Mr. Goertz Reads My Entire 04/09/2019 Email and Acts On It?

Good morning family,

I sent Bastrop County District Attorney Bryan Goertz an email and need your help making sure he was able to receive and read my entire message. My email is in response to the comments he made in the following article on April 2nd: https://www.statesman.com/news/20190402/letter-writing-campaign-seeks-new-trial-for-death-row-inmate-rodney-reed

To give a summary, my message to Mr. Goertz is that he needs to do everything in his power to see to it that Rodney gets a new and fair trial where all the evidence can be seen and heard because Mr. Goertz has an ethical duty to do so.

This is the exact message I sent to him on April 9, 2019:

“Good Morning Mr. Goertz,

You are not telling the whole truth here. The truth of the matter is you do have the power to ensure Rodney is granted a new trial. You need to step up. As district attorney, you can concede in court that a convicted person is 1.) innocent or 2.) that their conviction is unconstitutional. Because Rodney’s conviction was the result of a series of constitutional violations- including prosecutorial misconduct, trial by a jury of folks who were not his peers, failure to include all evidence and witness testimonies, inadequate representation, and so much more- you can do something about it. In fact, as district attorney, if you think there is a constitutional violation in a person’s case, you have an ethical duty to concede error.

In the article, you say, “I don’t think there’s an innocent man on death row,” referring to my brother. Now this is coming from a man who graduated from Baylor Law School- one of the top 50 law schools in the country! I don’t understand it. And it’s concerning to say the least! How do you not see that my brother is innocent of the murder of Ms. Stacey Stites with all the evidence that is out there?

You have the testimonies- sworn affidavits- of 4 medical examiners, including even the one who put Rodney on death row, Dr. Roberto Bayardo. In Bayardo’s recanted statement from 2012, he stated that his finding “very few” sperm indicated that my brother and Ms. Stites had sex “not less than 24 hours before Ms. Stites’s death.” So, you have Dr. Bayardo and three other independent medical examiners- those three being experts in their field- testifying that there’s no way possible Rodney could have killed Ms. Stites based on the time of death and the lividity of her body. When you consider this information and also Jimmy Fennell’s testimony that he and Ms. Stites spent a quiet evening at home around this time, based on this information alone, there’s no way in the world Rodney could have committed this murder. And then with all the other evidence that has come out pointing at the DNA of known associates of Fennell’s- cops David Hall and Ed Salmela– how can you not see that Rodney is not guilty of the murder of Ms. Stacey Stites? This makes me seriously question the caliber of law school graduates that Baylor Law School is sending out into our communities.

And if comprehension of facts is not one of your strong suits, one thing that does not require a strong command of comprehension is the fact that Rodney’s conviction was and still is unconstitutional. Rodney’s right to due process was violated! Rodney never did get a fair trial in the first place. He did not get a chance to call his witnesses. There was evidence that was not tested and still has not been tested. The most important piece of evidence in this case- the belt, the murder weapon itself, that was used to strangle Ms. Stites to death- has never been tested! How are you not going to DNA test the murder weapon and then consistently defend Rodney’s conviction, oppose DNA testing, and advocate for his execution?

All we’re asking of you is to do everything in your power to see that Rodney is granted a new and fair trial. Every major district attorney’s office has a conviction integrity unit or something to that effect which includes a process for reviewing cases of claimed innocence, so what we’re asking you for is normal. Most importantly, that is the just thing to do period, and especially when the stakes are as high as they are when you consider that the death penalty is permanent!

You can make recommendations. Your word is very powerful. You can bring a quick end to this abuse. You do have the power to ensure that Rodney is granted a new trial. Seek truth and justice! Most importantly, stand up and do the right thing!

Respectfully,

Rodrick Reed”

Maybe y’all can get through to Mr. Goertz. If you can, ask Mr. Goertz to do everything he can do- everything in his power- to ensure that my brother Rodney is granted a new and fair trial where all the evidence can be seen and heard. Ask Mr. Goertz to make time to sit down with my mom and me. I have reached out to Mr. Goertz multiple times by phone and by email and I still have not received a response from him directly. I will continue trying to do so. I do need some help in my efforts. Maybe y’all can support me along the way. Call him. Email him. Fill out a postcard. If something in my letter resonates with you, tell Mr. Goertz that. Maybe you could even read the entire thing back to Mr. Goertz. Tell Mr. Goertz to reach out to me by phone at 512- two seven zero-1596. Or tell him to email me. He has my personal email and he can reach me there 24/7/365. I will respond.

Whatever you can do to support the efforts of my immediate family and me would be greatly appreciated. The number to Bryan Goertz’s office is 512-five eight one-7125. His work email is bryan dot goertz at co.bastrop.tx.us. Of course, always be respectful when you reach out to his office.

Family, I ask you, what are your thoughts on how we can ensure Mr. Goertz reads my entire 04/09/2019 email and acts on it?

Thank you, family, with much love from my family.

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To you, our extended family- Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

A clip from KVUE that was shot before and at the start of the What Are They Waiting For? Free Rodney Reed! event we held at the Kerr Community Center on March 9, 2019.

As long as God keeps giving us breath in our bodies and the ability to use our voices, we will not stop until justice is had for my brother Rodney. We will not falter. We will not fall to the wayside. We are here until the end. If anyone hasn’t figured that out in these last 22 years, then they probably need to open their eyes a little bit wider.

I will tell you this, though. We are tired. We stress. That’s part of why this blog post is being published 10 days after the event. 22 years is a really long time.

But don’t get me wrong- we always keep the Faith and stay strong. And that’s not easy in this world. With the help, love, and support of people like you who showed up and showed out on March 9 (and especially those of you who have been rocking with us from the beginning of this fight), that helps us see a brighter future- a brighter tomorrow. Not just for Rodney, but for humanity. For justice. For right. I’m proud to say that I consider you all family because family sticks together. Family stands up for one another. Family looks out for one another, especially in times of great need. Yall have been standing with our family and continue to stand with us in our time of great need. And that means more than any words I can put together. I appreciate you all from the bottom of my heart!

My family also thanks Scott Cobb, President of the Texas Moratorium Network; Delia Perez-Meyer, sister of Louis Castro Perez (who is another wrongfully convicted man on Texas death row ) and our sister in the struggle; and Lily Hughes of the Free Rodney Reed Campaign for speaking at the event. We appreciate you for lifting your voices on our behalf and on behalf of the other people who have been wronged by this unjust criminal justice system. We appreciate your efforts and all of the important work that each of you do.

So I say to you family, let’s continue fighting for right and letting these people who are obstructing justice know we are not asleep at the wheel! Free Rodney Reed!

-Rodrick Reed