Even the family of the victim is now coming forward in his defense, saying instead that the cop was likely responsible for the murder.
Georgetown, Texas – In Texas, a man named Rodney Reed is sitting on death row for a 1996 murder that he probably did not commit, and if nothing is done to stop the execution, he will die in less than two months.
Even the family of the victim is now coming forward in his defense, saying instead that her fiance was likely responsible for the murder.
The victim, 19-year-old Stacey Stites was engaged to police officer Jimmy Lewis Fennell at the time of her death. Fennell is a former police officer who is currently in jail for brutally assaulting and raping a woman while he was on-duty.
Over the years, mountains of evidence surfaced implicating Fennell as the person who killed his fiance, over 10 years prior to his rape conviction in 2007.
Following the murder, Fennell was never seriously considered as a suspect, and police never even searched his home during their investigation. Fennell should have been one of the primary suspects in the case, because had a history of being violent and controlling with Stites. Fennell was even under various disciplinary investigations at the department just around the time of the murder, because he was stalking and harassing women while on the job.
One of the stalking allegations came just months after the murder of his fiance, when a woman named Pam Duncan told police that she was dating Fennell, but broke up with him because he was possessive and controlling. She filed a police report alleging that Fennell came to her house late one night shouting profanity and insults at her, while shining his police issued flashlight through her bedroom window. When Duncan later went to the police department to check on the report, the report was nowhere to be found.
Instead of investigating Fennell for Stacey’s murder, detectives turned their attention to Ronald Reed, a man who lived nearby that was allegedly having an affair Stacey.
There were several witnesses who were able to confirm that the relationship was taking place, including a bail bond agent, a bar owner, a neighbor and others who had seen the two together in public on multiple occasions.
Reed was rushed through a quick trial on flimsy evidence and was sentenced to death by an all-white jury on May 29, 1998.
Years after the verdict, a Dallas-area police officer who attended crime-scene training with Fennell in 1995 came forward to reveal that during their training, Fennell had told him that he would strangle his wife with a belt to avoid leaving fingerprints, if he had ever caught her cheating. Sadly, this is exactly how young Stacey Stites was killed.
As evidence has continued to mount over the years, especially following Fennell’s rape conviction, many activists and community members have pushed for the release of Ronald Reed.
Earlier this summer, Reed’s execution was scheduled for January 14, 2015.
Surviving family members of Stacey Stites are among those who believe that Reed is innocent and are fighting to stop his execution, calling for his immediate release.
“I just know he didn’t do it, we’ve got to do something to stop this execution. We have to stand up and say, look, there are too many questions to execute a man without them all being answered,” Stites’ cousin Judy Mitchell told The Intercept.
This is a case where everyone’s help is needed. Currently, this story is being ignored by the mainstream media, but if enough people get the word out about what is going on, we could possibly save this man’s life before January.
There is currently a day of protests planned for Rodney Reed next week. Protest organizers have made the following call to action:
Starting on Monday, Nov. 24th,please call, email and fax the Bastrop County DA’s office and ask that they agree to ALL the DNA testing in Rodney’s case and that they drop the execution date!
Fax: (512) 581-7133
Please share this story, your clicking of the share button below, could literally save this man’s life.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.