Who is Rodney Reed?

Posted by mcorcoran on December 31, 2013

Rodney ReedAt first, Rodney Reed said he didn’t know the victim. “It wasn’t me.” But after being presented with DNA evidence that he’d had sex with the 19-year-old woman, he changed his story. It was consensual sex, he finally admitted, but because he’s black and she’s white, he had to keep it on the down low. Races ain’t ‘sposed to mix in small-town Texas, you see.

This was in Wichita Falls in 1987, not Bastrop nine years later, when Reed would follow the same m.o. after he was indicted and later convicted of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites.

You know that case, right? Nineteen year old doesn’t show up for her 3:30 a.m. shift at HEB on April 23, 1996. She’s found dead in a wooded area 12 hours later with her pants unzipped and her t-shirt off. Her fiancee, Giddings police officer, Jimmy Fennell fails two polygraphs and is the prime suspect until the DNA matches Rodney Reed almost a year later.

There’s a documentary about the case called “State vs. Reed” and the Austin Chronicle has written extensively about it, pushing the idea that Reed is innocent and the cop boyfriend killed her in a jealous rage when he found out that she and Reed were having an affair. Fennell bolstered the defense’s case when he pled guilty in 2008 to improper sexual activity with a person in custody and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The lawyers for Reed, who sits on Death Row near Huntsville, have vowed to fight this to the end.

But this is no Michael Morton case. Texas Monthly or another major magazine hasn’t touched this national true crime story because, although there remains questions (see links below) about the death of Stacey Stites, Rodney Reed has been scarring lives since 1987.

When the Austin Chronicle put Rodney Reed on the cover of it’s May 24, 2002 issue (“Who Killed Stacey Stites?”), there was no mention of his history of alleged sexual assaults until about 4,000 words into a 5,000-word story. After proudly pointing out that Reed was acquitted of the only rape charge he faced in court, Chronicle crime reporter Jordan Smith wrote “Reed and his family say they can prove he did not commit the other assaults,” leaving it at that.

Maybe instead of asking “Who Killed Stacey Stites?” and serving as the mouthpiece of the defense, the weekly should’ve wondered “Why was Rodney Reed’s semen inside a badly-beaten 12-year-old girl?”

There is DNA evidence that while Reed was out on bail in the Wichita Falls case, he beat, raped and sodomized a 12-year-old Bastrop girl. The DNA testing from the Stites rape would tie him to that case, which never went to trial because Reed was sent to death row in 1998.

Reed bounced between Bastrop, where his mother lived, and his father’s home town of Wichita Falls, where he was accused of another vicious attack in 1991. The day after his girlfriend and mother of his two children Lucy E. ended their relationship, Reed broke in and raped and sodomized her in front of the kids, the woman said. But after contacting police and filing a report, she decided it wouldn’t be worth it to press charges.

Three more women came forward during the punishment phase of Reed’s  capital murder trial and described animalistic attacks from the man that they were terrified might one day walk out of prison. The sexual assault of May 1995 yielded the DNA profile that ended up convicting Reed in the Stites case, though, again, the victim was an ex-girlfriend who didn’t think anyone would believe her.

The other two assaults were more damning to Reed’s claims of innocence, as the first was six months before the Stites murder and the other was six months after. In both cases, the women were abducted from Bastrop’s Cedar Street, which is on Stites’ route from her apartment in Giddings to her job at HEB. The first rape, in October 1995, was a cold case until the DNA match was made 18 months later. The February ’97 attack was an attempted rape that could’ve followed the Stites scenario. Victim Linda Schlueter stopped in at Long’s Star Mart for something and there was Reed, asking for a ride, please. She hestitated because she didn’t know him, but Reed can be charming, convincing. He hopped in. But instead of guiding him to his house at 806 Martin Luther King Blvd., he had her turn down a series of dark roads where he demanded sex, then beat her up when she declined. She was lucky to get out of the car as a pair of headlights approached- and Reed slid over to the driver’s side and floored it. Schlueter filed a police report and picked Reed from a mugshot. That case, following the same timeline and m.o., had police looking at Reed as a suspect in the Stites rape-murder.

None of the previous rape charges nor the attempted sexual assault of Schlueter were brought up during the guilt/innocence part of the trial.

One of the Reed defense team’s key points of appeal is that although 11 sworn witnesses were ready to testify that they had seen Reed and Stites kissing, holding hands, etc., only two were called at the trial. But Reed’s original court-appointed attorneys explained in an interview, after the jury deliberated four hours to find Reed guilty, that he other witnesses were all close friends or relatives of Reed, most with criminal histories.

Reed was known by authorities to roam the streets at night and sometimes walk along the railroad tracks. He also occasionally sold drugs, which led to his arrest for delivery of cocaine in April 1997. By sheer coincidence, the DNA match from Reed’s alleged rape in May ’95 to the Stites case had come back positive for Reed the day he turned himself in on the petty drug charge. Investigators asked if he knew Stacey Stites and Reed said only from the news reports. Never met her.

When they hit him with the irrefutable DNA evidence that his semen was found in Stites vaginal and anal cavities, Reed went back to Wichita Falls in ’87. When he went to trial on that rape charge, the jury believed his “secret affair” story and he was acquitted.

Stacey Stites.

Stacey Stites.

Although Jimmy Fennell is the poster boy for “shadow of a doubt,” Reed’s entire case is built on the claim that he had consensual sex with Stacey Stites more than 24 hours before her body was found. To believe his story, she carried his semen home to her racist cop boyfriend that night, didn’t shower the next day and then went to work. And yet the defense has presented zero credible proof that Reed and Stites had even met. A bunch of friends and relatives who’ve had problems with the law pointing a finger at a cop? That’s not going to do it. Where are the notes, the photos, the stray hair, the little gifts that may have Stites’ fingerprints?

A key witness for the prosecution was Stacey’s mother Carol, who lived downstairs from the Giddings apartment Fennell and Stites lived in. The night before Stacey’s rape/murder, Carol suggested to Jimmy that he let Stacey take his truck to work, then she’d give him her car the next day. Having one vehicle was an ongoing problem with the young couple. Carol Stites testified that at about 3 a.m. she heard the couple’s door open once and heard one set of footsteps go down the stairs, which was the routine when Stacey had to work. At 6:30 a.m., when she was notified that Stacey was missing, she immediately called Jimmy who came down the stairs. He went to Carol’s apartment and Carol gave him her only set of car keys so he could drive out to look for Stacey. There was only ONE set of keys to the car and she had it overnight. Jimmy didn’t have another vehicle. The only way he could’ve killed his fiancée was if her mother had been complicit.

After the murder of their employee, HEB offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer and yet no one thought to drop a dime on Rodney the crack dealer, who they seen with that white girl.

If anyone accused of a rape-murder can explain away their semen by claiming an illicit affair, as unlikely as the couple might seem, that would really clog the appeals courts.

But you figure that first they’d throw out all the cases where the convicted have shown a pattern for the behavior they are accused of doing.
Texas Monthly has not done the 12,000-word story about the Rodney Reed case because Michael Morton was not an accused sexual predator with the DNA evidence to back it up, before he was sent to Death Row.

* * *

Reed returned to a Bastrop court Tuesday Nov. 25 to ask for additional DNA testing, which was denied.

Reed returned to a Bastrop court Tuesday Nov. 25 to ask for additional DNA testing, which was denied.

UPDATE: The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday Nov. 3 to review Reed’s case. The decision lets stand a January ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which determined that Reed’s lawyers performed adequately during his trial and his claims of innocence lacked validity. He’s was  scheduled for execution Jan. 14, but on Nov. 25 that date was moved to March 5.

Here’s the latest on the case from the Austin Chronicle.

And to read more, this site covers a lot of the more conspiratorial aspects of the case, including the beer can with the DNA that doesn’t exclude a fellow Giddings police officer.

Reed rape victim speaks out.

UDATE: Appeal denied 4/12/17.

Here’s what the State of Texas sent to the U.S. Supreme Court

KVUE’s Nov. 13 report on the case is solid journalism and contains a rare interview with Reed’s last victim Linda Schlueter,

46 Responses to “Who is Rodney Reed?”

  1. Redd said

    “Reed cannot show prejudice because, at trial, Reed had access to the same DNA evidence and his DNA expert initially reached the same conclusion before conducting more refined Polymarker testing, which excluded Stites and the two police officers.” [Slip Opn. No. 13-70009, p. 41]

    The original dna testing could not exclude Stites and two police officers. However, additional more refined dna testing conducted by Reed’s own expert, excluded all three. Yet, the thug lovers go on and on about the stupid beer cans which were found across the road from where the body was found.

  2. Ohana said

    MCorcoran – I would be very interested to know where you received your information regarding the Rodney Reed case. I would like to explore some of your allegations/statements and would like to know where I may go to verify the information you wrote about. Particularly,

    “The other two assaults were more damning to Reed’s claims of innocence, as the first was six months before the Stites murder and the other was six months after. In both cases, the women were abducted from Bastrop’s Cedar Street, which is on Stites’ route from her apartment in Giddings to her job at HEB. The first rape, in October 1995, was a cold case until the DNA match was made 18 months later. The February ’97 attack was an attempted rape that could’ve followed the Stites scenario. Victim Linda Schlueter stopped in at Long’s Star Mart for something and there was Reed, asking for a ride, please. She hestitated because she didn’t know him, but Reed can be charming, convincing. He hopped in. But instead of guiding him to his house at 806 Martin Luther King Blvd. he had her turn into an abandoned lot where he demanded sex, then beat her up when she declined. She was lucky to get out of the car as a pair of headlights approached- and Reed slid over to the driver’s side and floored it.” and “There is DNA evidence that while Reed was out on bail in the Wichita Falls case, he beat, raped and sodomized a 12-year-old Bastrop girl. The DNA testing from the Stites rape would tie him to that case, which never went to trial because Reed was sent to death row in 1998.” I appreciate any information you can provide.

    • mcorcoran said

      I spent two days at the Bastrop County clerk’s office going through trial transcripts. The information about the alleged past sexual assaults comes from the penalty phase of the trial, after Reed was found guilty, but before the sentence.

      • Moomwalker said

        Alleged? So this is information presented by the prosecutor and has yet to be tried and proven?

        • mcorcoran said

          Reed was indicted on two rapes, including the 12-year-old, but since he was convicted of capital murder it didn’t make sense to prosecute the rapes. In retrospect, the prosecution should’ve tried the rapes first. But Reed is still under indictment.

          • Eric Rawlings said

            Do you have the case number for this? Most Stiles relevant docs are on County Clerks site but I can’t find the court docs on the 12 y/o case.


  3. Mr. Corcoran,

    While you may have read some of the trial transcripts, you did not have access to the internal documents and investigators reports that I got before the State sealed the files.

    When you use the 2 sexual assaults attributed to Reed to condemn him, you clearly did not do any research to determine if they were true, which I did.

    First, the 12-year-old raped in 1987 was not dating Reed’s cousin who was 24 yrs. old in 87. Second, the Reed in Bastrop when the assault occurred was Rodney’s younger brother Ryan. Ryan Reed moved to Bastrop in late summer of 87 to complete his last year of high school. Third, Rodney’s attorney in Wichita Falls told me he was only allowed to to go to Bastrop for one day to attend his granfather’s funeral and that was in the spring of 1987. Lastly, there was no DNA evidence in the 12-yr-olds case.

    If you read the transcript of the punishment phase of Reed’s trial you will see the detective who investigated the 12-yr-olds assault stated he had enough evidence to charge the perpetrator at the time, but didn’t. Furthermore, the neighbor of the 12-yr-old at the time of the assault stated the victim told her the rapist said her he was going to rape again, because she went to the police. Two weeks later she was rapped again by the same guy. The rapist was the cousin of the girl’s boy friend and had the same last name of Reed’s cousin, which was “Moore”.

    The reason I know this is because I took time and went through the trouble of talking to the neighbor and obtained a 1987 Bastrop High School yearbook showing it was Ryan Reed not Rodney Reed. The yearbook also has a picture of the boy named Moore who was the boyfriend of the 12-yr-old and Moore’s cousin had been arrested for kidnapping and raping another girl.

    Next the woman raped on the railroad tracks had a witness who identified that rapist, but the detective said they only wanted Rodney. The actual rapist’s name is in the detective’s reports.

    Lastly, victim Linda Schlueter was a dance in Austin, oh wait, wasn’t it dancers that Fennell was stalking and trying to assault in Williamson CO., and by the way, there were several that filed police reports before Fennell was arrested and charged. District attorney John Bradley hid this from the press.

    now if you saw the pictures of Linda Schlueter and saw her 1″ long fingernail, you would know that Reed’s DNA would be under them, if he tried to assault her, but it wasn’t.

    Lastly, during my research I requested the DPS provide all chain-of-custody and proof of shipment, of all DNA evidence sent from the DPS to Reed’s DNA expert in California. After I received the shipping documents, I requested verification from the shipper, who refuted all the shipping documents. They stated they have no records of picking up, or delivering the alleged evidence and the shipping packets provided by the DPS were document envelopes. They said it would be a violation of federal law to ship DNA in those envelopes, but they know it didn’t happen as the evidence wouldn’t have fitted and they have no records to support the DPS contentions.

    In closing, you are correct on one point, Reed is no Michael Morton, he is an Anthony Graves.

    Anthony Graves had the same prosecuting judge, the same court appointed defense attorneys, the same Travis CO Medical Examiner and the same judges daughter presiding over their appeals.

    If you’re really interested in the truth about the Reed case, you have my email, so drop me a message and lets talk.

    • mcorcoran said

      I won’t go point by point, but why do you say there was no DNA evidence linking Rodney Reed to the 1989 rape of the 12-year-old? He also was a match for the bite marks on the child’s face that were go grotesque that a juror had to run to the bathroom to throw up. In the Linda S. case, he punched her and threw her to the ground by her hair, then kicked her. She didn’t have the chance to scratch him.

    • Ohana said

      Thank you David for answering my question more in depth. I believe wholeheartedly that Mr. Reed is innocent. I questioned the previous allegations to see where the information was gathered. I question stating things as “fact” when they were spoken by the DA’s office. I am by no way an expert on this case however, what information I have received speaks of a terrible injustice. Thank you David for your response. I know Rodney appreciates your support.

      • Redd said

        Corcoran cited evidence from the trial, i.e., testimony by witnesses given under oath and subject to cross examination. Fisher posted some sort of bizarre rant which is not evidence. I’m sure the distinction will escape you. Hopefully, the USSC will deny his petition before the end of the term and TX will set a date. Otherwise, it will be early next year.

        • Anon said

          It seems to me that Mr. Fisher did a far better work at investigating this case than Mr. Corcoran. But someone who is so convinced that Mr. Reed is guilty would be unable to see the truth even if it hit them in the face. One only needs to objectively look at the case facts to see that there’s way too much doubt in this case and that there is a likely innocent man on Texas death row.

          • Redd said

            It seems to everyone, you are the one unable to see the truth even if it hit you in the face. Fisher is a fabulist as are you.

    • Lisa O'Brien said

      Mr. Fisher,

      There are a few problems with your attempt to refute the information provided in Mr. Corcoran’s article. Much of what you posted, though you attribute it to your “research,” is nothing more than conclusory allegations, some of which have never been raised by Reed’s counsel in his many post-conviction challenges.

      In evaluating Reed’s claims of actual innocence, the courts will only look at the testimony and evidence before the trial court. Therefore, the information that may or not be contained in the investigative files is of little, if any value. If the information was never presented at trial, or at previous hearings, it isn’t in the record and, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t exist. This is especially true when the reports, etc. are not readily available online for others to read and interpret for themselves. While the majority of people on the internet will read the clams and believe them, there are those who would prefer to read the original documents and decide what they mean for themselves.

      Reed was actually linked to five sexual assaults (Connie Y., 12 year old, Lucy E., Vivian H., Angela W.) and one attempted sexual assault (Linda S.) after Stacy’s murder. Five of those victims testified against him during the penalty phase of his murder trial in 1998. Reed’s defense attorneys did not present any witnesses to refute the testimony of these witnesses, or the allegations against Reed.

      The majority of your conclusory allegations are meaningless in the absence of documented proof that corroborates them. Many of them don’t even make sense or are irrelevant or immaterial to the question of Reed’s guilt in the prior rapes and/or his guilt for Stacy Stites’ rape and murder.

      If you check the criminal court records in Bastrop County, which has dockets available online, you will see that Reed has been indicted in those prior and subsequent cases, making the often repeated claim that he’s never been charged false.

      Are you implying that Fennell attacked Linda S.? If I recall correctly, Linda identified Reed and pick him out of a line-up. Did you miss that during your review of the police and investigative reports. Since Reed was prosecuted in Bastrop County and convicted long before Fennell’s crimes, what the DA in Williamson County did or didn’t do is irrelevant.

      The presence or absence of long fingernails has no bearing on the presence or absence of DNA evidence. If the victim does not get an opportunity to scratch an attacker, there will be no DNA evidence from the attacker under the victim’s fingernails. Fingernails are not magnets that attract DNA.

      During your “research” did you bother to read Ms. Johnson’s trial testimony and reports, or to speak with her regarding how and when she received evidence? What the shipping company may or may not have told you about the documents you received from DPS is hearsay and not a legitimate substitute for Ms. Johnson’s prior testimony confirming that she received evidence, or her current recollection regarding her receipt of evidence.

      Your claim that Reed and Graves were tried by the same prosecutor is false. In fact, Reed and Graves were tried and convicted in separate counties. Reed’s prosecutors were Penick, Sanderson and Tanner. Graves’ prosecutor was Charles Sebesta.

    • Lisa O'Brien said

      Dear Mr. Fischer,

      Please stop harassing Reed’s living victims. Publicly defaming and harassing them only demonstrates Reed’s continued propensity to victimize women, even if it’s through trolls and minions.

  4. Vivian harbottle Chapman said

    Fisher, get a life

  5. Dan said

    While a strong OPPONENT of the death penalty, I have to agree after looking over Rodney Reeds appeals along with what was brought up during his trial, that he is guilty. The author stated actual facts that were from the trial.

  6. Redd said

    For the record, Stites was a nail biter. Her nails were not cut. Reed’s supporters try to claim that someone cut her nails to hide evidence.

  7. Dan said

    He’s guilty. I’m not for the death penalty, but this article shows just how much evidence goes on during the trial, that is never discussed from the prosecutor’s side(they usually can’t discuss ongoing cases), while the only people who can continue trying to use false claims and manipulative tactics to distort the REAL TRUTH is the defense(in this case, Rodney’s team, friends,etc..)
    The reason I am against the death penalty, is because it does no one justice. There have been examples(Anthony Graves who did have an execution date, yet thankfully got I believe a couple of delays, where he was eventually found innocent). This shows how even one case is a reason never ever to use death as the ultimate punishment

  8. Dan said

    It’s also another reasons, anti-death penalty organizations such as the INNOCENCE PROJECT, has not taken up this case(example, hiring law firms pro bono..)BECAUSE he is obviously guilty

    • Anon said

      Actually Dan, Reed’s attorney is Bryce Benjet of the Innocence Project.

      Also, Innocence Project is not an anti death penalty organization. IP is a non profit legal clinic working to help the wrongfully convicted. They do however support a death penalty moratorium while reasons for wrongful convictions are remedied (and would also support a repeal should that be the only option to stop executions while those wrongful conviction causes are remedied).

      On another note: there are many wrongfully convicted people who aren’t represented by IP – that doesn’t mean they’re “obviously guilty”. Given the fact that you’re familiar with the existence of an organization such as IP, one would also expect that you’d know just how overwhelmed they are with requests for help. In some cases, it can take up to a year for such an organization to even respond (!) to an inmate that requested help, let alone take on his case. Perhaps you should consider a financial donation to IP (or any other organization which is part of the Innocence Network) so more people would be able to receive assistance from them.

      As for the Rodney Reed case, I’ll say this: if the state has absolutely nothing to fear (and hide), why not test the DNA? For example, Ms Stites was strangled with a belt – what are the chances the perpetrators DNA is on there? I’d say pretty good. Yet the state refuses to test it. Why? It doesn’t make sense, but then again, it’s Texas where executing the innocent (and let’s not forget the mentally ill) is perfectly normal.

      • Redd said

        The belt was handled by numerous people, i.e., all the attys, court personel, wits, and the jury. So, to say it is contaminated is an understatement. Since Fennel and Stacy lived together, it would not be a surprise if his dna was found on it. If they find Reed’s dna on it, he’s going to repeat his lie that they had consensual sex previously and must have touched the belt. The state has no interest in delaying the execution to test evidence that holds no forensic value nor shd they.

        IP is definitely an antidp group. Who do you think you are fooling? They couldn’t be bothered to file a timely request for additional dna testing or to file a written motion with the state as required. So, I suspect this was all just for show for the nutters who will believe anything.

  9. Bastropian said

    Thank you for your article! Rodney is guilty and deserves to pay for what he did. I CANNOT believe people are ignoring the facts and rallying for his release. This animal has not done any good in his life; he’s only hurt people. Stacey was excited to be getting married–she was NOT having an affair with Rodney Reed. I was raised in Bastrop. I knew Stacey and I saw Rodney around town all the time who was always up to no good.

    Ed Salmela’s suicide had nothing at all to do with the case. He was having relationship problems and was rejected by his lover and that’s what pushed him over the edge.

    Most people claiming Reed’s innocence know NOTHING about this case! I understand a lot of people want to see the good in people and believe in the positive, but Reed is guilty.

    PS- to the people supporting Reed: don’t you know that everyone in prison is innocent? They will all yell it from the rooftops. Stop believing everything you hear and look at the facts. Semen and tears on a murdered victim’s anus are pretty damning when tests come back with their DNA!

  10. Laurie Gaston said

    Is it mentioned that the boyfriend went to prison shortly after for rap?

  11. Lisa O'Brien said

    The absence of Reed’s DNA on the belt will not exonerate him. The presence of someone else’s DNA on the belt will not exonerate Reed. Reed was convicted based on his DNA being found in and on Stacey Stite’s body. Reed has consistently failed to prove any relationship with Stites and, in fact, denied knowing her when he was initially questioned by police in 1997, a year after the murders.

    As for Stacye’s fiancee, he went to prison 11 years after the murder in 1996. If he was the “real killer” why wouldn’t he have pointed police directly to Reed in 1996?

    The truck Stacey was driving the night of the murder was abandoned in Bastrop, 35 miles from Giddings. There is no evidence that Fennel, or any of his Giddings co-workers made the 70 miles roundtrip on the night of April 23. The location in which the truck was abandoned was within a mile of Reed’s home, in an area that Reed was known to walk on a nightly basis.

    The fact is that Reed raped and murdered Stacey Stites on April 23, 1996. She was not killed by a jealous fiancee because of a relationship that didn’t exist.

  12. Crystal said

    I would hope that no other woman has to go thru what these women have. I worked with Stacy’s half sister years ago and learned about the case then. it seems to me that these Rodney supporters are easily tricked. The truth is in front of you and you still try to skirt around it. If your so sure of his innocence please find him a home in your neighborhood if you succeed in getting him out. I pray you never succeed because he has a history of repeating his crimes and claiming he was in a relationship with the girl. from what I know of Stacy is that she was a country girl, she wore chukkas daily, and was very careful about her lifestyle. Why would a woman like that have anything to do with a man who dealt drugs and was a regular thug? Not saying it has anything to do with race, had Rodney been a black cowboy I would have bought his story. They had nothing in common. The man who wrote the Artie is so right in the fact that Stacy would have had to not showered or even walked.

  13. Great article! I have read the court of appeals response to Reed’s appeal and it is obvious he is guilty. His defenders are grasping at straws. Everytime I see someone try to use polygraph “results” as “evidence,” I crack up laughing. Polygraphs are noting but voodoo machines and its the operator who decides what the results mean. I’ve seen an operator claim a subject was “deceptive” when every word he said was true. Polygraphs were debunked years ago. So what that the fiancé confessed to “raping” a drunk woman 11 years later? He’s been drug through the mud by Reed’s hacks. As for Fisher, gimme a break! His latest project is going after the Waller County jail over Sandra Bland. He’s another wannabe nothing.

  14. vivian harbottle said

    Thank you Sam,

  15. J.J said

    Having just watched the show DEAD AGAIN, i am more convinced than ever, that reed is innocent.. This is nothing more than a cover up, from a corrupt police force and justice system.. fennel is a bad seed, a jealous man who took the life of his partner, and sent an innocent man to death row.. with all the new evidence, one has to wonder whether the judge that denied the DNA testing appeal, isn’t in on it as well.. karma is a wonderful thing, lets hope the REAL GUILTY parties, get a big dose of it, in the not to distant future..

  16. Lisa O'Brien said

    Tonight, the American Idiots podcast on Blog Talk Radio will be discussing the Rodney Reed case. Please join us.


  17. Gregory C said

    Reed should have been executed years ago. Reed parked the Trucks a few blocks from where he lived he walked the tracks back to his house like he did every night.

  18. Lisa O'Brien said

    Reed’s two remaining writs (WR-08 and WR-09) have been denied and/or dismissed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. No comment, yet, from Benjet or the Reed family.


  19. AMY said

    After all this new evidence, after learning it’s medically and scientifically impossible, the 3 intact spermatozoa link to consensual sex days before and SO SO many other items of innocence do you still have this stance? If you do believe in guilt with all this evidence disputing that don’t you believe it’s fair to test DNA of all the items left untested and further, I believe MANY people would deny knowing a person they had a secret relationship with, a person doesn’t want to get dragged in!

  20. Lisa O'Brien said

    There is a yawning chasm between what’s being presented in the media/court of public opinion and what has actually been presented to the state and federal courts. Although there was an opportunity for Reed’s counsel to call the “new” relationship witnesses at the hearings in October, 2017, they chose not to do so. This is likely because the three relationship witnesses (Slater, Ybarra and Horton) waited 14-16 years before coming forward and, to date, have offered no legitimate reason for not reporting what they knew about an alleged relationship between Reed and Stites during the original murder investigation in 1996, upon Reed’s arrest in 1997, or during Reed’s trial in 1998.

    The latest witnesses, two of whom are law enforcement officers, likewise have offered no legitimate reason for remaining silent for 23 years. Each of these witnesses waited an additional 4 years after Reed’s case started receiving considerable media attention ahead of his March, 2015 execution date.

    As for the claims of “medical and scientific” impossibility, those are simply not credible. No medical examiner, no matter how long he has practiced or how often he has been involved in high profile cases, is omniscient. The opinions of Baden, Spitz, Riddick and Wecht are actually deficient in that none of them examined Stacey’s body and their opinions are based on their review of the original autopsy report, photographs and crime scene video. In my opinion, they are also likely based on theories provided to them by Reed’s advocates, who provided their thoughts and interpretations of the photographs, etc. and Drs. Baden and Spitz saw what they were directed to see. Reed’s attorneys have presented forms of this same argument in state and federal court prior to Reed’s 2015 execution date. They were not successful because the medical opinions could have been obtained and offered in Reed’s initial state writ, which was filed in or around 2000.

    As for the claims about the sperm, that only 3 intact sperm were found is a distortion of the facts established at trial. Dr. Bayardo and Karen Blakely both collected swabs and each independently observed in tact sperm on their respective slides. Although I don’t know the exact number, the volume of intact sperm found was likely greater than 3. Reed has also presented these same arguments in state and federal court and the issues have been decided adverse to him because the arguments are merely speculative of what could be and do not prove that the testimony offered at trial was incorrect, or false. Claims that more would have been found had the rape occurred at 3:00-3:30 a.m. on April 23, 1996 are speculative because they are based on generalizations, rather than specific evidence about Reed’s individual medical condition.

    At the time of Stacey’s murder, no fluids or stains were observed on Stacey’s belt and, for that reason, the surfaces of the belt were not swabbed. Touch DNA testing was not available at that time and, as was common in several jurisdictions, at trial no precautions were taken during the handling of the belt, or any other evidence in the case. Touch DNA testing at this time is likely to produce DNA profiles that are not related to the murder. Because Fennell and Stacey lived together, even finding his DNA on the belt at this late date would not incuplate him.

    The fact that Reed’s conviction is anchored by DNA consistent with his, to the exclusion of millions, in the form of semen and saliva inside and on Stacey’s body, that his repeated claims of a relationship have not been proven with credible and reliable witnesses and additional DNA testing done in 2014 identified DNA consistent with Reed’s on the pants on Stacey’s body and the back brace inside the truck at the time it was found in the high school parking lot, the evidence of Reed’s guilt remains overwhelming and unrefuted by clear and convincing evidence.

    A key fact lost on most of Reed’s advocates is the fact that Reed’s name did not come up once during the initial investigation between April 23, 1996 and March, 1997, when DNA linked him to the murder and two other rapes. If police were intent on framing Reed all along, why would they wait a year to compare his DNA to the DNA from Stacey’s murder? Why would they not immediately arrest him in April, 1996? Why would Fennell never mention Reed’s name during any of the times investigators were pointing the finger at him?

    None of Stacey’s co-workers mentioned Reed’s name, even those who came forward years later to claim an admission from Stacey and knowledge of a relationship. None of Stacey’s family mentioned Reed’s name, even those who came forward years later to support Reed and point their fingers at Fennell.

    Contrary to Reed’s claims, the evidence that was not available at trial was unavailable due to the failure of witnesses to come forward, rather than official malfeasance or interference by police or other state agents. In fact, neither Alicia Slater, LeRoy Ybarra, nor Calvin Horton claimed to have spoken to police in 1996, 1997 or 1998. Slater “didn’t want to be involved,” Ybarra waited for police, prosecutors or defense attorneys to find him and Horton was silent as to why he didn’t come forward before 2014/2015.

    While Texas law would entitle a defendant to have every piece of evidence subjected to DNA testing if the crime happened today, Reed’s crime occurred 23 years ago. He has been tried and convicted and his conviction was affirmed on direct appeal. He has had 21 years of due process, 3 post-conviction evidentiary hearings and all of his claims have been rejected by state and federal courts. He has taken 10 bites at the state habeas apple and failed to present sufficient evidence to support any of his claims or undermine the overwhelming evidence of his guilt.

    There are two problems with Reed’s initial statement to police in 1997, both of which are more harmful than helpful. The first is that he used the same strategy in 1987 when he was arrested for the rape of Connie Y. in Wichita Falls, TX. He denied knowing her, then admitted to having had sex with her when he discovered that there was physical evidence tying him to the crime. The second impacts Reed’s credibility, i.e. the question becomes, “Was he lying then, or is he lying now.”

    It’s ironic that Reed and his advocates claim to be about truth and they accuse judges, prosecutors, police and adverse witnesses of lying about every fact of the case established at trial. They accuse advocates for Stacey, who is the only victim in this case, of lying if they don’t toe the “Reed is Innocent” line. Yet they have no second thoughts about excusing Reed’s decision to lie on April 4, 1997.

    • Carrie Richards said

      I’ve been reading, watching all of this play out for over 20 years and it makes me sick. I watched the Dr. Phil show with Stacy’s coworker and I don’t believe a word she is saying. This is not an innocent man and it makes me absolutely crazy watching all of the celebrities, politicians, etc. all jumping on the innocence bandwagon. I would love to know if they would like this man living next door to their teenage daughter because I sure wouldn’t.

  21. Larry said

    So, I’ve read all of your replies, I wanted your opinion on why her coworker/ friend went on Dr. Phil & claimed Stites told her she was intimate with Reed?

    Do you believe she’s lying?

    • Lisa O'Brien said

      To put it bluntly, yes, I believe that Alicia Slater is lying. I suspect that Reed’s attorneys also know that she is lying. That’s why she wasn’t called to testify at the hearings in October, 2017. As long as she lies to the media and in front of the cameras, she’s not breaking any laws. If she takes the stand and swears to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, she will be committing perjury.

      Slater aligned herself with Reed. It was only then that she told anyone about the alleged admission from Stacey. Slater was interviewed twice by investigators in 1996 and did not tell them about Stacey’s alleged admission at that time. She has also never claimed to have told police about it and been threatened or coerced to remain silent.

      There are other problems with her statements. She claims she was admiring Stacey’s engagement ring at lunch. First, Stacey’s mother testified that Stacey did not wear her ring to work. Therefore, they could not be admiring a ring Stacey was not wearing. Second, Stacey worked an odd shift, clocking in at 3:30 a.m. and getting off work at around 1:00-1:30 p.m. Slater was a bagger and likely reported to work when the store opened in the morning, hours after Stacey reported for work. Slater would, therefore, not have been eligible to go to lunch at the time Stacey would be, due to the different shifts they were on.

      Additionally, Slater’s claim that Stacey was not excited about her wedding is refuted by testimony from Stacey’s mother and statements and testimony of her sisters. Stacey was paying off her wedding dress at the time she was murdered. She made a payment just prior to her murder and had a balance of about $19.00. Stacey and Fennell were going to pick out flowers on Tuesday, April 23. On Monday, April 22, Stacey told her mother that she loved Fennell and was going to marry him.

  22. charlie said

    Two low life guys

    the low life almost husband/cop rapist

    really was pure luck for Reed

    His going to the well one time too many “secret relationship” which he said NOTHING ABOUT until he was caught red handed-DNA

    1996 even in rural TX- no one would not immediately say “we were in a relationship”

    heh-small town “hate ” because of across race dating-doesn’t hold a candle to death penalty

    Yeah she would have told her friends if they were in a secret relationship-and in small towns-nothing is secret

    I don’t favor death penalty-waste of time and it encourages people to “like killing”

    but Reed-guilty

  23. randolph said

    Thank God I’ve found a site that supports the reality that Rodney Reed is clearly, convincingly and beyond a reasonable doubt, guilty of the brutal and savage rape and murder of Stacey Stites. One of the most appalling effects of the absurd claims of his innocence is the tragic denigration and sullying of the reputation of innocent Stacey Stites. The idea that she would be falsely purporting to within 18 days, to love and honor the man she was engaged to, while involved sexually with an indicted rapist is the sickest allegation I’ve ever heard. And just plain stupid. That she would be making floral bouquets for her wedding with her mother (read her mother’s testimony) the day before her murder and have just had consensual sex with a vulgar monster is beyond ludicrous and something only the most gullible could ever buy into. All of those who are jumping onto that band wagon are complicit in defiling Stacy’s memory and reputation. For God’s sake, read the trial transcript. Read appeal court reviews and denials. There is no credible “new evidence” or DNA to test. So now it would take all of the appellate courts and the supreme court to be in a conspiracy against a monster indicted for multiple rapes. And by the way, why subject a 12 yr old and other rape victims to the horror of a trial when the justice system already has him in for a death sentence. Keep in mind that all across the country, now that DNA is available to identify rapists and murderers, they are over and over pleading that it was “secret consensual” when they have denied ever knowing the victim and then informed their DNA was found. May God bless the soul of precious Stacey Stites.

    May God rest the precious soul of Stacey

  24. randolph said

    Thank you Lisa O’Brien for stating many facts of the case. There are so many in the trial transcript that prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but it takes hours to read but I think most of these people who are falling for the ridiculousness of his innocence are too lazy to read it. They have no right to an opinion without reading it carefully. All of it.

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