Attorney Recounts Rodney Reed’s Wichita County Case

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Wichita Falls Defense Attorney Bob Estrada_-2532914857842618915
“It was essentially a he-said, she-said case.” Wichita Falls defense attorney Bob Estrada is recounting the 1991 case involving his then-client Rodney Reed, who was recently granted a stay in his execution after being convicted of a different crime in a different Texas city.

“It was, I believe, the very first case in Wichita County where DNA testimony was actually offered in front of a jury.”

In 1991, a Wichita County jury acquitted reed of beating and brutally raping a Hirschi High School classmate in 1987.

The woman claimed Reed broke into her home through a window, hit her several times with a rolling pin, breaking bones in her ear, and then raped her.

“One of the key points was that she had claimed that he had broken into her place through a window over the kitchen sink,” Estrada says. “Most of the glass from the broken window was on the outside instead of the inside.”

Based on Estrada’s arguments, the jury came back with a “not guilty” verdict for Reed, something Estrada says his client expected.

“I’ve stopped, long before that, trying to predict what a jury would do,” Estrada says. “He, of course, believe that he was innocent all along and that everything would turn out right.”

As for the current case against Reed, Estrada says he doesn’t know all the evidence, but he does know that defense attorneys are arguing some evidence at the scene wasn’t tested for DNA.

Whether that’s true, Estrada says, is worth finding out.

“Here’s what’s just: let’s find out.”

In 1998, Reed was convicted of murdering Stacey Stites in Bastrop two years earlier. During the punishment phase of that capital murder trial, the complaintant from the Wichita Falls case several years earlier, testified along with several other women that he’d raped them.

Reed’s attorneys say new evidence proves Stites was killed hours before prosecutors claim the murder happened and that her fiance, former police officer Jimmy Fennel, was the only person with her at the time. Fennel’s now serving a prison sentence for the brutal rape of a woman while on duty and in uniform.

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