UPDATE! We are suspending our postcard campaign and rerouting people to sign the Innocence Project’s petition for Rodney. If you haven’t already filled out the Innocence Project’s Petition, please do so here: https://www.innocenceproject.org/stand-with-rodney-reed-on-texas-death-row/
Rodney was convicted of the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites in Bastrop, Texas. His conviction was based on semen DNA evidence. However, no physical evidence linked him to the murder. Rodney has maintained that he and Ms. Stites were having an affair, which accounted for the presence of his DNA.
These Black and White Postcards contain a simple message directed to Bastrop County District Attorney Bryan Goertz: Rodney Reed deserves a new trial which allows for DNA testing of the crime scene evidence! Do everything in your power to ensure he is granted one! The following facts justify the need for a new trial for Rodney. Also, this is not an exhaustive list, as there are many more issues with Rodney’s case (if you’re already familiar with the case details, feel free to skip to #10!):
1.) Rodney was denied important DNA testing on several critical pieces of evidence- including the belt that was used to strangle Ms. Stacey Stites- that have never been tested for DNA.
2.) Jimmy Fennel, Ms. Stites’s fiancé at the time of her murder, failed two polygraph tests on the question of whether he had strangled Ms. Stites.
3. Fennell’s truck (which Stites was dumped out of) was released to and promptly sold by Fennell, meaning a third party (such as Reed’s defense) could never confirm its contents or test any DNA.
After quickly gathering several items from Fennell’s truck, the police returned the truck to Fennell. He sold it almost immediately. None of the items gathered from the truck were ever DNA tested, including a cigarette lighter that the killer probably handled, as the body of Ms. Stites, a non-smoker, bore a fresh cigarette burn.
Law enforcement made a number of egregious mistakes in investigating Ms. Stites’s murder. Although Ms. Stites’s fiancé Fennell (a local police officer), was the leading suspect for many months, the police inexplicably failed to search the couple’s apartment (the last place Stites was seen alive) .
Law enforcement placed plastic bags over the victim’s hands to capture and preserve any fingernail scrapings, and a condom was also collected. Again, none of these items were subjected to DNA testing.
https://www.courtlistener.com/pdf/2015/02/18/reed_rodney.pdf (pages 2 – 3)
4.) Witness testimony and DNA evidence collected at the site where Ms. Stites’s body was found point to the involvement of Fennell’s known associates David Hall (a Giddings police officer) and Ed Salmela (a Bastrop police officer). https://www.courtlistener.com/pdf/2015/02/18/reed_rodney.pdf
(pages 13, 30, 46-47, 59-60)
The crime scene and important evidence were purposefully contaminated by police investigators; a friend of Fennell’s, whose DNA was found near Stites’ body, was also a police officer; and the police decided to officially dismiss Fennell as a suspect, stating that it would be logistically impossible for Fennell to have committed the crime, even though this depended on the baseless assumption that Fennell acted alone.
5.) Three world-renowned forensic experts have submitted affidavits that Ms. Stites’s original time of death was inaccurate and that Ms. Stites was actually murdered before midnight. This would have made it impossible for Rodney to have murdered Ms. Stites.
a. Michael M. Baden, M.D. (pages 39 – 44)
b. Werner U. Spitz, M.D., FCAP (pages 79 – 82)
c. LeRoy Riddick, M.D. (pages 115 – 123)
6.) Former Travis County Medical Examiner Roberto Bayardo, M.D. stated the following about his findings regarding evidence of rape: 1. he was wrong and 2. parts of his testimony were misinterpreted by the prosecution. https://www.innocenceproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Reed_Exhibits-to-Supp-11.073-Writ_6-26-18.pdf (pages 10-13)
The testimonies of the state’s other witnesses – DPS Serologist Karen Blakely and Labcorp Serologist Meghan Clement- were also later repudiated.
7.) There is credible evidence of the affair between Rodney and Ms. Stites from witnesses who have no connection to Rodney.
a. Ms. Alicia Slater and Mr. Lee Roy Ibarra- Ms. Stites’s former coworkers at H-E-B
(pages 45 – 47 of first link)
Ms. Slater (pages 136-140 of second link)
Mr. Ibarra (pages 142-143 of second link)
b. Mr. Calvin Buddy Horton- Ms. Stites’s cousin
(pages 46-47 of first link)
(pages 145-146 of second link)
8.) Members of Ms. Stites’s family have come forward saying they think Fennell is guilty of her murder.
a.) Judy Mitchell https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2839595/Murder-victim-s-family-ditch-effort-save-man-convicted-killing-execution-saying-believe-19-year-old-strangled-death-cop-fianc.html
b.) Heather Stobbs http://www.fox7austin.com/news/cousin-of-stacey-stites-believes-rodney-reed-is-innocent
9.) Fennell gave conflicting accounts of where he was on the night Ms. Stites was murdered. Fennell claimed to be home with Ms. Stites, but during a CNN interview, his close friend Curtis Davis (a former Bastrop Sheriff’s Office Deputy) claimed that Fennell told him that he had been out drinking until the late evening the night Ms. Stites was murdered.
This situation has also raised issues of a Brady violation as it may have been suppressed by the prosecution. https://www.cnn.com/2017/09/11/us/texas-rodney-reed-hearing-death-row-stories-new-evidence/index.html
10. The possibility of winning a new trial for Rodney is very real! It can and will be done through our teamwork and concerted vigilance. Join us in urging Bastrop County District Attorney Bryan Goertz to actualize justice and ensure Rodney is not executed for another person’s crime. All our voices matter, and we need your help to send him this important message! Our goal is to deliver 500 physical (and corresponding digital) postcards! Share this link far and wide to all people you know of or can think of who believe in truth and justice so we can exceed our goal, get Bryan Goertz’s attention, and secure a new trial where Rodney can prove his innocence of this crime!
The more we send, the louder we can amplify our demand for justice for both Ms. Stites and Rodney!
–We express our deepest gratitude to the leaders of the Free Rodney Reed Campaign, Rodney’s legal team, and Rodney’s longtime supporters for their tireless dedication and substantial contributions which facilitated the process of sharing the above information. —