Wrongfully Convicted

July 27, 2012

On Saturday in Bastrop County, a group gathered and marched to show their support in a rally for justice for a man they believe was wrongfully imprisoned 15 years ago. 

Rodney Reed, age 44,  is on death row after being found guilty of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites. The group is adamant that the jury convicted the wrong man.  

Stacy Stites was a white woman, Rodney Reed is a black man. The two were involved in a secret relationship, an affair that would be viewed more socially unacceptable and more harshly judged than most given the crossing of the racial boundaries. Stites was the live-in girlfriend of Jimmy Fennel, a Giddings police officer at the time. 

Reed's mother said that due to society's views on interracial relationships her son was wrongfully convicted. "He didn't get a fair trial. It was an all white jury. That's not fair, that's Jim Crow," Sandra Reed said. 

In 2008, Fennel pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct with a person in custody after being charged of sexually assaulting a woman at gun point following a domestic call while serving as a Georgetown police officer.    This was the second allegation of this nature. 

When Rodney Reed heard this news he saw a glimmer of hope. He told YNN news in 2008, "I always felt the truth would prevail in this case. I am not going to die like this."  The case is currently under review by a federal judge. Fennel is in prison but could be released in October.