Alleged Rodney Reed victim speaks out about 1995 rape

Posted by mcorcoran on September 27, 2015

Vivian Harbottle 2015.

Vivian Harbottle recent photo.

“After he raped me, he had this look in his eyes like he wanted to kill me,” says Vivian Harbottle. “I begged him for my life. I told him that I had three kids… He just kept staring at me. I was crying ‘please don’t kill me’ and then he finally left.”

A DNA match would tell Harbottle, a year and a half later (May 1997), that the man who sexually assaulted her near the railroad tracks in Bastrop was Rodney Reed, who is currently on death row for the rape and murder of Stacey Stites. The 19-year-old HEB cashier was killed April 23, 1996, six months after the Harbottle assault.

“I’m no angel,” says Harbottle, 56, who has had three DWI convictions and an assault charge after a bar fight. “But that man raped me.” She says she decided to do her first interview about the October 1995 incident because “no one is speaking up for the victims. No one is saying what a dirtbag Reed is. Everything is getting twisted around.”

Reed supporters celebrated a stay of execution by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in February, just ten days before his March 5 date with the lethal injection in Huntsville. Amid much controversy, claims of Reed’s innocence, and charges of racism, the CCA is reviewing the case. Reed’s defense team points to Stites’ ex-boyfriend, former Giddings police officer Jimmy Fennell, as the likely perpetrator, after Fennell pled guilty in 2008 of sexually assaulting a woman in custody while on duty in Georgetown.

But Harbottle says there’s no doubt in her mind that Reed is guilty. Six months after the Stites murder he was involved in another kipnapping and attempted sexual assault, but that victim escaped. “I don’t feel so bad for me,” she says. “I feel really bad for Stacey. If we were able to pin (the Harbottle rape) on Reed, she might still be alive.”

Harbottle was intoxicated the night she was raped, she admits. After a night of partying at Ray’s Place on Chestnut Street, where she used to work as a bartender, Harbottle started walking to her stepson’s house via the railroad tracks behind the bar. “Reed just came out of nowhere,” she says. They sat on the tracks and talked for a few minutes, she said, but when she got up to leave Reed threw her to the ground and raped her. “He had his hand over my mouth and then the train went by with the horn blowing,” she said. “No one could hear me scream.” The incident occurred about 100 yards from Reed’s house, but the case went cold when Harbottle couldn’t identify her attacker. She walked back to Ray’s and called police that night in ’95, but “it was dark and I was drunk,” she says. Police were able to draw a DNA sample, however, which matched when Reed turned himself in for a petty drug charge in April ’97 and submitted DNA. That’s also how he became a suspect in the rape/murder of Stites.

It’s been 20 years and “everybody keeps telling me to move on, to forget the past,” she says, “but how can I when (the Reed case) is in the news all the time.” Harbottle says she’s been harassed by Reed supporters and had to report one to the police so he would stop coming by her restaurant (the short-lived In Cahoots in Bastrop) and grilling her about her testimony. She was called by the prosecutors during the sentencing phase of Reed’s trial. Four other former Reed rape victims also testified. “I’ve been called a liar and a whore,” she says. “I’ve had to stay off the Internet because it’s just too upsetting.”

Reed was not charged in the rape of Harbottle, she said, because he was convicted of the greater charge of murder. There is no statute of limitations in Texas for rape. Reed’s DNA was also found in a 12-year-old girl who was raped in 1989, when Reed was out on bail for an alleged rape in Wichita Falls.

Here’s my first post about the Rodney Reed case.

28 Responses to “Alleged Rodney Reed victim speaks out about 1995 rape”

  1. vivian harbottle said

    Thank you for your time michael , also a big thank you to Lisa Tanner for the great job she did protecting the rape victim’s and any future victim’s there would have been !

  2. Lisa tanner said

    Thank you Vivian. You were and still are so brave. And thank you for writing truth, Michael.

  3. Be Truthful said

    This is a bunch of crap!! You all should be ashamed of yourself, including Lisa Tanner who is involved in a relationship with the lead investigator of the Reed case. Michael you are not helping solve this crime by digging up maybe’s.

  4. vivian harbottle said

    Dear be truthful, this is not a maybe !!! It is a proven fact,and if you knew anything about this case you would know that !! Dna does not lie !

  5. Be Truthful said

    DNA does lie when David Board is involved. #TRUTH

  6. Regulator said

    Y u hating on a rape victim ? I guess u hate lil babies too !! The truth is near so shut Ur mouth n lets c where it ends up – u can spit hatred to rape victims – smh the victim has been through enough ! N no stupid DNA don’t lie now go away n kick lil puppys !!

  7. vivian harbottle said

    Omg really ! Please grow up and gets your facts straight! Your just another joke in yalls blame it on everyone but REEDS GAME!

  8. Be Truthful said

    Vivian is that true about your asdault charge? It was dropped?

  9. regulator said

    I wonder if u or anybody up in this can tell me y they pick on the VICTIM ??? WHEN THE DAY IS DONE WHY YOU PICKING ON THE VICTIM ?? and peeps wonder y we ladies don’t step up n say wht went down smh because of this going on right here n right now !! I saw ur post glad whoever took it down !! SMH And as far as the world goes did she consent to having sex with him ??? NOO SHE DID NOT NEITHER DID THE OTHER GIRLS – WOW what has happened to the world ?? Victims rights I SCREAM !!!! Y must they re-live the past- I hiss!!!!!!! Y ?

  10. dave said

    Good job Michael and Lisa

  11. Redd said

    An indictment tolls the statute of limitations. Reed has been indicted on at least 3 rape/aggravated assault charges. They are pending cases and will never go away until he is executed.

  12. Redd said

    Reed’s fans are acting even nutter than usual. I had hoped the opinion would be published today but no luck. When it does come down, be prepared for the attacks, insults, threats….

  13. Redd said

    Last week, Reed filed another supplemental brief. Just another delaying mechanism.

  14. Vivian said

    For what ?

    • Redd said

      They are citing a lower court Wisc case that held that any unidentified dna evidence may be exculpatory. Therefore, it shd be considered when determining whether a HC hearing shd be granted or not. It’s lame in that it is not controlling authority and not relevant to the facts of this case.

  15. Redd said

    Looks like they filed another amended petition for a writ of HC. Just the same old garbage — with the hope that something will stick. It’s all a delaying tactic.

    • Vivian Chapman said

      I just wish they would get this done and over with,for everyone’s sake!

      • Redd said

        There are two issues before the court: a petition for a HC hearing and an appeal of the denial of further dna testing. Today, the TCCA sent the case back for the trial judge to make a further record on why he denied dna testing. Keller dissented and made a nice record on how the requests for further dna testing were redundant and/or irrelevant and nothing but deliberate delays:

        “This is not the conduct of a convicted person who knows he is innocent and thinks that DNA testing will prove it. Nor is it the conduct of a defense team who has any reason to believe the convicted person is innocent and thinks that DNA testing would prove it. This is the conduct of a defense team that realizes there is no hope of exoneration and is simply trying to delay the inevitable execution.”

  16. Redd said

    The defense has so much faith in their client’s innocent, they are filing more frivolous appeals hoping to delay the inevitable. They are trying to block the case being sent back to the trial court for further determinations on the dna issues.

  17. Redd said

    The TCCA has been busy. They denied the defense’s motion for oral argument, for a rehearing, and for a 60 day extension. They also rejected the defense argument that the court did not have the authority to remand the case back to the trial court.

    The TCCA did grant the state’s motion for a 14 day extension.

  18. Redd said

    Finally! DENIED.


  19. Lisa O'Brien said

    Reed’s attorneys have filed a Request for Rehearing to the TCCA:


  20. God knows said

    Dear Vivian, I believe you. I, too, was raped and beaten by Rodney Reed. No matter what others say, I hope you find comfort knowing that God loves you and that God knows what happened.

    • Vivian Chapman said

      Oh ,I’m so sorry to hear about you ! I’m betting there are more ,who are just too afraid to say so.

      • Redd said

        Hang in there, ladies. He’s guilty and he is extremely dangerous. Reed is going nowhere. I know it’s difficult with all the lies by the defense, the nutters, and the MSM, but the truth will prevail.

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