After Two-Week Hearing, Here’s What’s Next for Rodney Reed
Rodney Reed’s hearing before a judge concluded on July 29, but his fight for justice isn’t over yet.
08.02.21 By Innocence Staff
Over the past two weeks, Rodney Reed’s legal team presented its case that Mr. Reed deserves a new trial in light of newly discovered evidence that supports his innocence claim. At the hearing before District Judge J.D. Langley, his legal team also presented evidence that prosecutors had withheld evidence and experts had given misleading testimony at Mr. Reed’s original trial in 1998.
On July 29, the team rested its case. Now, it is preparing written and oral arguments, which include its findings and conclusions, that it will present to Judge Langley later this month. Judge Langley will then make his recommendations to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on whether Mr. Reed should be granted a new trial.
Mr. Reed has been on death row in Texas for more than 20 years and came within five days of being executed in November 2019. He was granted an indefinite stay of execution on Nov. 15, 2019, so that his innocence claims could be considered.
Mr. Reed was convicted for the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites — a crime he’s always said he didn’t commit. In fact, Mr. Reed said he and Ms. Stites had had a consensual relationship before she died, which explains the presence of his DNA. However, the two kept their relationship a secret because Ms. Stites was engaged and because they feared racist retaliation — Mr. Reed is Black, Ms. Stites was white.