AUSTIN (KFDX/KJTL) — Texas State Senator Pat Fallon and 15 other state leaders have sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott and Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant a reprieve to a former Wichita Falls man’s death row case.
In 1996, Stacey Stites, 19, was found dead on the side of a road in Bastrop.
Investigators said she was raped and murdered just after 3 a.m., on her way to work at a grocery store.
For months, the prime suspect was her fiancé, a police officer named Jimmy Fennell, until DNA tests confirmed Rodney Reed’s semen was found inside Stites.
Reed, who attended Hirschi High School, was then convicted and sent to death row.
Reed’s attorneys sais the evidence points to Jimmy Fennell as the killer. They said Reed and Stites were engaged in a consensual affair and Fennell found out about it.
Reed’s case has garnered celebrity attention and now 16 state senators, eight Republicans and eight Democrats, are pushing to stop Reed’s execution, scheduled for November 20, 2019.
Pat Fallon is among those asking for the governor to granting Mr. Reed a reprieve until the new developments in his case are fully resolved.
Fallon said he wants to make sure justice is done so he is asking for a 30-day delay.
“If we ever, god-forbid, put someone to death and they didn’t commit the murder, I think that would end the death penalty overall in the country and that is, at least, an option that I think we should keep on the table,” Fallon said.
Reed’s death sentence in 1998 came 10- years after a Hirschi High School classmate of Reed’s said she was raped by him as well.
That former classmate was the very first witness to take the stand for the prosecution in the sentencing phase of Reed’s 1998 capital murder trial in Bastrop.
At least five other women also took the stand saying he brutally raped them as well.
One was just 12-years-old at the time when she said it happened right after the rape of his classmate.
Another happened right after the murder before Reed was charged.
In 1991, a Wichita County jury found Reed innocent of her rape.