BREAKING: Rodney Reed Granted Stay of Execution

Citing new evidence, CCA remands case to Bastrop trial court

Rodney Reed in 2002. (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Rodney Reed's scheduled execution has been stayed indefinitely by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which cites both new evidence and issues with his 1998 trial to send the long-running case back to trial court for "further development."

Reed, who was convicted for the murder two years earlier of Stacey Stites, has consistently proclaimed his innocence while pursuing appeals from death row for more than 20 years. In recent weeks, as his latest execution date of Nov. 20 drew near, interest in the case has reached a fever pitch both locally and across the world, with celebrities, Republican lawmakers, and millions of supporters calling for justice.

The CCA in its opinion issued Friday, Nov. 15 agreed that the latest habeas filing by Reed's attorneys raised claims worth review concerning improper suppression of exculpatory evidence (known as Brady claims) and false testimony presented by prosecutors, as well as Reed's claim of actual innocence. This order by the state's highest criminal court came several hours after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously voted to recommend that Gov. Greg Abbott grant Reed a 120-day reprieve, which would allow for the exploration of new witness statements and DNA testing of forensic evidence, including the belt used to strangle Stites.

Abbott, the focus of incoming pleas from everyone from Ted Cruz to Kim Kardashian to Sister Helen Prejean to spare Reed's life, now can maintain his silence on the case while the 21st District Court in Bastrop County figures out its next steps. Senior Judge Doug Shaver, who had presided over developments in the case since 2014, indicated in August his wish to retire from the case; a new judge will presumably be appointed to conduct any evidentiary hearings, order forensic testing, or pave the way for a new trial.

Read the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals' full opinion.

This is a developing story. We'll be updating throughout the weekend and in our next issue.

The Chronicle has covered Rodney Reed’s case for nearly 20 years. For more, visit our Rodney Reed archive.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Rodney Reed
Rodney Reed Clemency Filing Cites Fourth New Witness
Rodney Reed Clemency Filing Cites Fourth New Witness
Former prison mate says Fennell confessed crime in 2010

Brant Bingamon, Oct. 31, 2019

Rodney Reed Hearing Gets Underway
Rodney Reed Hearing Gets Underway
What was Jimmy Fennell doing before his fiancé's murder?

Sarah Marloff, Oct. 11, 2017

More by Mike Clark-Madison
Politics Gift Guide 2021: Ain't That Good News
Politics Gift Guide 2021: Ain't That Good News
Gift ideas for the politically and civically minded

Dec. 3, 2021

Austin At Large: Blinking in the Bright Light
Austin At Large: Blinking in the Bright Light
Austinites stagger into the post(?)-pandemic streets, waving at the new neighbors

Dec. 3, 2021

More by Brant Bingamon
Local Nonprofit Accuses APD of Illegally Raiding Offices
Local Nonprofit Accuses APD of Illegally Raiding Offices
Workers Defense Project decries “unnecessary” show of force

Nov. 26, 2021

Report Critiques COVID-19 Response in Local Jails
Report Critiques COVID-19 Response in Local Jails
Study reveals "a messy patchwork" of approaches to pandemic

Nov. 19, 2021

More by Sarah Marloff
Travis County Settles With Sexual Assault Survivors
Travis County Settles With Sexual Assault Survivors
$580,000 settlement reached in three-year legal battle over handling of sexual assault cases

June 25, 2021

Amy's Army Raises Awareness, Support for Sexual Assault Survivors
Amy's Army Raises Awareness, Support for Sexual Assault Survivors
New social media campaign calls for meaningful reform in local criminal justice system

May 7, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Rodney Reed, Stacey Stites, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle