Over the past few years there have been many cases of wrongfully convicted inmates being freed thanks to DNA evidence. It is rare, however, for a victim’s family to vouch for the innocence of the person convicted of kιlling their family member.
Rodney Reed is set to be executed on January 14, 2015 for mυrdering 19 year old Stacey Stites, a woman he was reportedly romantically involved with.
Stites’ body was found dumped on the side of the road hours after she failed to show up for her shift at a grocery store. She had been strαngled.
Stites’ family believes it was the woman’s fiance, a former police officer, who actually committed the crime.
Reed was found guilty of the 1996 Texas slαying, but the woman’s viοlent and controlling fiance, Jimmy Lewis Fennell, was never considered a suspect in the mυrder, even though a lie detector indicated deception. According to family members of both Reed and Stites, Fennell escaped a prosecution due to an inept investigation.
“I just know he did [it],” Stites’ cousin Judy Mitchell told The Intercept. “We’ve got to do something to stop this execution.”
Fennell is currently behind bars for rαping a woman in 2007 while on duty.
In dismissing Fennell as a suspect, police say the timeline didn’t add up and the man didn’t have time to dump the body and then get home in time enough to answer a call from the Stites’ mother that the woman didn’t show up for work.
‘Logistically speaking, it was not possible,’ Lead investigator Lynn Wardlow said. Wardlow also decided not to search Fennell’s home or question him about the day leading up to his fiance’s deαth.
Now concerned citizens and family members have joined efforts to convince Texas Governor Rick Perry to put a hold on the execution.
“We have to stand up and say, look, there are too many questions to execute a man without them all being answered,” added Mitchell.