UPDATE 26/01/01/2015

Find all the updates on events in preparation on the Facebook page.
You can also participate to the Letter writing campaign or find out more on Facebook

A growing number of organisations and individuals support Rodney Reed, his family and friends.
This includes The Innocence Project, National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), Campaign to end the Death Penalty (CEDP), Texas Defender Service (TDS), The Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, SAVE.
It also includes 11 members of the victim’s family (see statements from clemency letters further below).

Who is Rodney Reed?

Rodney is the father of three sons: Aaron, Anthony, and Chris; grandfather to Jaymeson, Marlei and Jeremiah, and Avery; brother to Rodrick, Ronald, Robert, Richard and Ryan. His entire family is completely convinced of his innocence (see video further below in the section: “What his family says”). He says:

My name is Rodney Reed. I’ve been on Death Row now for 17 years for a crime I didn’t commit. I’ve never hurt anyone in my life and soon I’ll be scheduled for execution. Texas is going to kill me and I’m innocent. (…) Stacey and I had sex 4 times in, or very close to my town, Bastrop. Stacey went out of her way to see me in the half-year or so that we knew each other. (…) At the very least, I will be executed by Texas, and I will be comfortable with myself and the Lord, and my family and friends, because I am innocent. Thank you for anything you can do for me, and God have mercy on the sinners who kill innocent people.

“Rodney was a fantastic boxer who was going places with his boxing. He has worked in nursing home, unfortunately, the injustice system intervened before a real profession could take root” a friend says.

Case summary

Rodney Reed was convicted by an all white jury for the rape and murder of Stacey Stites in 1996 in the small town of Bastrop – the very woman he says he had been having an affair with. However, Rodney’s court-appointed attorneys did not provide witnesses who would testify that Rodney and Stacey were engaged in a sexual relationship at the time of her tragic death, thus explaining the presence of his semen in her body. No other evidence in the case connected Rodney to Stacey or the crime scene.

Reed’s lawyers argue that he is innocent of the crime and that Stites was murdered by somebody else — most likely her fiance, who years later was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “kidnapping and sexual assault of a person in custody”, as a Georgetown police officer (listen to his rape victim’s statement further below).
Rodney’s family, and his supporters, believe that evidence of a black man engaged in a sexual relationship with a white woman in a small Texas town would have been enough to frame him for murder and send him to death row. Unfortunately, all the courts so far have denied the appeals of Rodney Reed, despite of the fact members of the victim’s family believe Rodney Reed may not be guilty.

Much evidence point to Stacey Stites’ fiance Jimmy Fennell as the real culprit of her murder. Read more about the facts of the case here.

. Texans March to Senate Chamber Demanding Racial Equality KEYE TV, January 19th, 2015
. Rodney Reed seeking relief on death row, by Patty Finney, January 8th 2015
. DNA testing denied in Rodney reed’s case, November 2014, The Intercept
. Huffington Post Interview, November 2014
. Rodney Reed’s appeal rejected by US Supreme Court
. Murder victim’s family in last-ditch effort to save man convicted of killing her from execution…saying they believe 19-year-old was strangled to death by
her cop fiancé, Daily Mail, November 2014
. Is Texas getting ready to execute an innocent man, November 2014, The Intercept, Jordan Smith
. Worker’s World: Stop execution of Rodney Reed, August 2014
. Watch full documentary on the whole Rodney Reed case, State vs Reed here– Trailer above
. Judge sets Jan. 14th execution date for Rodney Reed (including video report)
. WATCH: Rodney Reed, the next Troy Davis, RT?
. READ: Rodney Reed: Another Innocent Man on Texas’ Death Row? by Jordan Smith, The Nation
. READ: Medical Examiner: Testimony Misconstrued in R. Reed Case Explosive information filed in federal court by J SMITH, Austin Chronicle14/08/2012
. WATCH Family and supporters stand behind Rodney Reed, Keye’s program
. READ: 5th Circuit Court document
. Earlier coverage of Rodney Reed’s case begins at the link.
. READ: The Austin Chronicle’s archive of Rodney Reed articles
. Here is a Fox News TV report (including a testimony from the victim sexually assaulted by Jimmy Fennel, Stacey Stites’ fiance)
. Read the Caitlin Adams blog posts.
. Keep updated on his Facebook page and Twitter @FreeRodneyReed and new Facebook page Rodney Reed the Truth

case connected Rodney to Stacey or the crime scene.

Reed’s lawyers argue that he is innocent of the crime and that Stites was murdered by somebody else — most likely her fiance, who years later was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “kidnapping and sexual assault of a person in custody”, as a Georgetown police officer (listen to his rape victim’s statement further below).
Rodney’s family, and his supporters, believe that evidence of a black man engaged in a sexual relationship with a white woman in a small Texas town would have been enough to frame him for murder and send him to death row. Unfortunately, all the courts so far have denied the appeals of Rodney Reed, despite of the fact members of the victim’s family believe Rodney Reed may not be guilty.

Much evidence point to Stacey Stites’ fiance Jimmy Fennell as the real culprit of her murder. Read more about the facts of the case here
Learn about the timeline here What a former prosecutor says

WATCH Stephen Keng, attorney at law and former prosecutor give his personal opinion on the case. (Credit: Reed vs State, documentary by Ryan Polomsky)

What a rape victim of Jimmy Fennell (fiance of Stacey Stites when Stacey was murdered), says

Listen below to a short 2 mns extract of a new interview (April 4th, 2014) of Jimmy Fennell’s rape victim giving a testimony of her ordeal, how she believes that Jimmy Fennell could have murdered Stacey Stites and how terrified she is, that he might kill her when he gets out of prison [Full 22 mns interview here]
Jimmy Fennell’s rape victim
What members of the victim’s family say

11 members of the family of the victim Stacey Stites support the plea for justice of Rodney Reed. Here is some of their views (from clemency letters they wrote to the Governor – Find out more)
Sherry, cousin:

The loss of my cousin has been devastating and sad for our family. I and others feel we have been denied justice in her murder and I feel that Jimmy Fennel got away with murder.

Heather Stobbs, cousin:

My cousin, Stacey was murdered at the age of 19 in Bastrop County, Texas in late April 1996. She was engaged to be married, and the mother of a daughter she had given up for adoption a few years earlier. She was athletic, funny, sassy and full of life. She was also a risk-taker, who from the time she was a toddler was into everything. She possessed a strong and opinionated personality and did not like being told what to do. In fact, if you asked her not to do something, that was pretty much a guarantee that as soon as you were gone, she was doing it. She is missed.
Our system failed her. It has failed her family, her friends, her daughter. Please do not let the memory of her be filled with so much controversy. Please give Mr. Reed a new trial and a stay of execution before it is too late.

Judy Mitchell, cousin:

I’m am writing to you to PLEASE hear our pleas and intervene (…). Time is of the essence as Rodney Reed’s execution draws near.
What independent witnesses say
An independent (anonymous) witness from the local Bastrop area, who was never presented at trial, has stated since the trial, that she knew about Rodney Reed and Stacey Stites consensual relationship. She says:
“I have seen them (Rodney and Stacey) about 4 or 5 times… She was nice, I liked Stacey, ”
(see video above)

Trina Hola, from Bastrop, TX, gave this reason to sign the petition in support of Rodney Reed

Stacy Stites was a personal friend to my family. Knew Stacy for a long time. Went to the same church and were in the same youth group together. I DO NOT believe Mr. Reed did this! FREE RODNEY REED!!!
In an article from The Austin Chronicle, Jordan Smith writes:
(…) Significantly, potential witnesses included more than just friends and family of Reed. One was James Robertson, now in the navy and stationed overseas, who said he saw Reed in jail while Reed was awaiting trial. In an affidavit, he said he had known Reed and Stites were dating and had seen them together several times at parties.

In addition, at least one of Stites’ own relatives remains unconvinced by the trial’s outcome. That person, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “It needs to be investigated more than what was done. I don’t think it was investigated the way it should’ve been. I don’t feel that Rodney Reed killed her. He didn’t have to rape her, let’s put it that way.” This same relative said there are other Stites family members who share the same opinion. Read more here
What Rodney Reed’s family says

Chris Aldridge (Rodney Reed’s cousin) also provided an alibi for Reed on the night of April 23. “We was at the [Bastrop] community center [near Reed’s family’s house], because we had to go to work the next morning,” he said, as part of a crew helping to remodel the local Super S store. “I was with him until about 3 or 4am, then I went home, took a shower, ate something, and walked to Rodney’s house, and we walked to work.”

Rodrick Reed, 45, brother of Rodney Reed.

He says the conviction of his brother has affected his entire family.
“If my brother is on death row, I’m on death row,” he said. “I know in my heart of hearts that he is innocent.”
Read Houston Chronicle article
What his friends say

Julie Strickland:

I have known Rodney for 25+ years; way before he fell into this trap. He is one of the kindest, most caring, genuine people I have ever met. Aside from the obvious facts, Brady violations, ineffective assistance of counsel and rubber stamped denials by higher courts; I know Rodney Reed is innocent. I know, because, well, I just know. For so many years, I have visited Rodney in prison. I never really took the time to research his case other than watching the documentary State vs Reed. I didn’t have to do any research. If you know Rodney personally, you know he is innocent. Rodney grew up, one of six brothers. Now I am sure there were teenage quarrels between the brothers, but never in all the time I spent with Rodney and/or his family was there arguing or fighting. Compassion and love ran the house. Compassion and love, faith, hope and the truth have been what have kept Rodney standing strong for so many years. Rodney has been steadfast in his innocence, one that you, reader, will hopefully see for yourself.

Caitlin Adams:

Caitlin spent every ounce of energy fighting for Rodney’s freedom during the last two years of her life, whilst fighting herself for her own life in the same time – Caitlin suffered from ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease) and is now deceased. She wrote:I understand that we have an adversarial criminal justice system. I understand that it takes a certain amount of chutzpah to be a prosecutor. I also understand that the ultimate goal of our criminal justice system is JUSTICE. Not winning a case at the cost of an innocent man’s life. Not setting out to win a case with the goal of advancing your professional and political aspirations. Read more Caitlin’s blogs @CEDP
Rodney Reed is part of the on line exhibition about the special friendship between prisoners on death row and their pen friends around the world.
What former US judges say

In a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014, eight retired judges recently asked the Court to review the case of Rodney Reed. The judges did not take a stance on Reed’s innocence claims but urged the Court to hear his appeal so that new evidence in the case could be examined under the light of cross-examination in a full hearing, rather than just through the review of legal papers. “That is not how our system of justice is designed to operate,” the judges said. “When courts have only affidavits without witness testimony, they lack the means of testing the accuracy, reliability, competence, scientific acumen, proper training and judgment of the [person testifying].” Reed is claiming that his trial lawyers did not adequately investigate forensic evidence that experts now say might be unreliable. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected Reed’s appeal because they found the new testimony unpersuasive as presented in appellate briefs. The eight judges who petitioned the Supreme Court said the evidence should have been heard by a district judge in an hearing. The brief says: “The need for a hearing and live witness testimony is especially vital in evaluating ineffective assistance of counsel claims. As Petitioner’s case demonstrates, ineffective assistance claims “often involve complex factual considerations” for which there is a great “benefit from an evidentiary hearing, in which the Court can access the credibility of witnesses during live testimony and cross-examination”
The judges on the amicus brief are:

. Charles F. Baird, Former Associate Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (1991-1999).
. U. W. Clemon, Former Judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama (1980-2006; Chief Judge 1999-2006).
. Oliver E. Diaz, Jr. Former Justice, Mississippi Supreme Court (2000-2008); Former Judge, Mississippi Court of Appeals (1994-2000).
. W. Thomas Dillard, Former United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee (1976-1978).
. W. Royal Furgeson, Former Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (2008-2013); Former Judge, United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (1994-2008).
. Stephen M. Orlofsky, Former Judge, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (1996-2003); Former Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (1976-1980).
. H. Lee Sarokin, Former Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1994-1996); Former Judge, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (1979-1994).
. Sol Wachtler, Former Judge, New York Court of Appeals (1972- 1992; Chief Judge, 1985-1992); Former Judge, New York State Supreme Court (1968-1972).

Read amicus brief here
Read article from C. Lindell, “Eight ex-judges support appeal of death row inmate Rodney Reed,” Austin American-Statesman, 22/07/2014

What President Obama has recently said:

President Obama recently declared in a press conference with Angela Merkel that he thought that “we do have to, as a society, ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions around these issues”, while reaffirming his belief the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for certain crimes”. He added:

“Racial bias. Uneven application of the death penalty. Situations in which there were individuals on death row who later on were discovered to have been innocent because of exculpatory evidence – all these I think do raise significant questions about how the death penalty is being applied.”

How you can help Rodney Reed:

. Please help us save the life of Rodney Reed: Write a personal clemency letter to help save his life. Find out all the details on Facebook here

Bastrop County Courthouse PHONE, FAX AND EMAIL – Template letter

To the Honourable Bryan Goertz,

I would like to bring to your attention the case of Rodney Reed, who has been given an execution date of March 5th, 2015, although important DNA testing is under way. Rodney’s lawyers have asked for testing on several more items related to the crime scene, which the State has not agreed to.

We hope that all the possible DNA testing in Rodney Reed’s case is done so no risk be taken, in any way, to execute an innocent man. Our thoughts go to his family and friends who will have to bear the tremendous weight of the loss of a loved one, who may have been innocent.

Thank you.

Telephone (512) 581-7125
Fax: (512) 581-7133

. Rodney Reed’s attorneys need more funds to carry out new investigations.

$75 can pay for one hour of investigation. Please send your funds to the attention of co-counsel Andrew MacRae:

Levatino Pace LLP
1101 S. Capital of Texas Highway
Building K, Suite 125
Austin, Texas 78746

All details here – Please donate for new investigations to help save his life.
(Enter the name of Rodney Reed and leave invoice number blank, just proceed to payment).

To contact Rodney Reed or his supporters

You can contact Rodney Reed by email via (1$) or by snail mail:

Rodney R Reed
Polunksy Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston TX 77351

For all media enquiries, please contact his friend Julie Strickland
For any other query, please contact usMental-Disorders

Silent Racism is Unconscious Racism

By Christopher Bear-Beam
The other day I stopped at one of the local gas stations that I frequent often. I usually get my gas there. I got out of my car and was walking to the store entrance. As I was getting nearer the door, an African American man was pulling into a marking space in an SUV. I think that he parked just a little over the parking space line.
Also coming down the walkway, heading towards the entrance, was a European American male, most likely in his fifties, dressed in middle class clothing. As he approached the African American in the SUV, he looked at his vehicle as if he was inspecting the other man’s parking competency. What was strange to me, however, is the non-verbal communication on his face—a mixture of judgment and fear. Now I’m a European Male, and probably slightly older that this man doing the inspecting.
Next in this chain of events, came a surprising behavior on the part of the other white man, that I have never observed before. For the last sixteen years I have been co-facilitating community dialogues around race, and training all kinds of groups and individuals. I received my training from The Center for the Healing of Racism, Houston, Texas (
So the next moment consisted of something that I could view academically, but had never observed experientially. With the fearful look in his eyes, the European American man stopped abruptly, and stepped back about one pace when he realized that this was a black man—in my own running story line, I asked myself if he would have responded this way if it was another white person. Personally, I don’t think so.
I even rationalized in my own mind that maybe he was OCD and since something around him was out of order, or “over the line,” so to speak, he had to either avoid it, or see if he could control it in some way. Yet considering the context, the non-verbal communication, and the fear in his eyes, I made the assumption that he was afraid of the man due to his “blackness.”
One way to define this is Silent Racism. Silent Racism has many names and generally affects us—European Americans—because we haven’t been on the side of what it’s like living as a Person of Color in this culture, and very often, we don’t even have to think about how a person of color has been exposed to many micro aggressions, which are insults, put-downs, and ‘we’re better than you so we’re superior to you.’
Silent Racism also may be termed Unconscious Racism, Unaware Racism, Indirect Racism or perhaps Aversive Racism. Most of the time when whites are engaged in this type of Racism it’s not due to any intentionality to be mean or cruel. Many European Americans have very good hearts, and they aren’t conscious of the fact that they still practice this type of Racism. It’s a very subtle and covert kind of Racism, and that’s why Modern Racism is much more insidious. It’s not the blatant kind of Racism perpetrated by skinheads, the KKK, members of the White Identity Movement or members of other hate groups.
As a multicultural trainer, I had not seen this before. I’ve seen a white woman move as far away as possible from an African American on an elevate, and physically protecting her purse. But this European American male was most likely functioning this way out of fear.
Fear and separation are two of the triggers that keep this type of Racism going in our culture. Most American whites don’t want to directly face how we have been conditioned in a racist society—that’s called denial—and I’m not talking about that long river in Egypt.
If you want to do personal healing around Racism, or you know of groups that would benefit from this kind of multicultural training, check out Sunbear Community Alliance at: This author is the Executive Director of this nonprofit, and we are always looking for allies, collaborators, and people with the vision of re-conditioning our minds, feelings and behaviors to a Multicultural Consciousness.
Another good website for information on Racism and Anti-racism is:
©Christopher Bear-Beam October 29, 2011