Rodney Reed was scheduled to die by lethal injection yesterday in Livingston, Texas, but with help from the Innocence Project, he was granted a stay of execution by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. In a compelling interview taped before the stay was granted, MS-NBC’s Chris Hayes spoke with Reed about his case and his last bid to prove his innocence.
All In with Chris Hayes
, Hayes investigates the details of the 1996 capital murder and rape case of Stacey Stites, a crime for which Reed has always maintained his innocence. Hayes’ does a one-on-one interview with Reed at the Texas penitentiary where Reed is on death row. The segment includes real footage of Reed’s interrogation by police nearly 20 years ago.
During the interview, Hayes asks Reed to describe what he first felt when he heard in 1998 that he was convicted and being sentenced to death by an all-white jury for Stites murder. Reed responds, “Really, it was unbelievable. It felt like I was in a dream. It felt like this wasn’t real. It was a numb feeling.”
In addition to interviewing Reed, Hayes speaks with others involved in the case, including Reed’s mother, and his lawyer, Innocence Project Attorney Bryce Benjet.
“This case has everything wrong with it that is wrong with the criminal justice system today. You have racial discrimination. You have misconduct by the state. You have ineffective assistance of counsel. And you have no quality DNA testing. But, yet, you want to execute a person,” says Benjet.
Benjet outlines the details of new evidence confirmed by some of the nation’s top forensic analysts which may prove that Reed is innocent, and demonstrate that the real murderer is, in fact, Stites’ then-fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, who, at the time of the crime, was a local police officer. Fennell is now serving time in prison for sexual assault.
Watch the three-part episode of “All In America: The 11th Hour,”