Judge Doug Shaver denied the Innocence Project’s motion for testing of evidence which could exclude Rodney Reed from involvement in the 1996 murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites for which he is scheduled to be executed in January.
Staff Attorney Bryce Benjet appeared before the court Tuesday to request permission to test the victim’s clothing and the belt used to strangle her. Testing of beer cans found near Stites’ body have already revealed a potential match to a friend of her fiancé Jimmy Fennell, a former police sergeant who is now in prison on an unrelated sexual assault charge.
“DNA testing should be done in this case. It can prove who committed this crime. It can give the kind of certainty that we have to have, especially when we’re trying to put a man to death,” Benjet told the court.
Judge Shaver ruled that the motion was made to unreasonably delay the execution of Reed’s sentence. The court approved a separate motion to postpone Reed’s execution date until March 5.