Death Row inmate Rodney Reed, 41, brought an appeal of his case before the highest court in our state for criminal matters, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, arguing that there is new evidence in his case. And, this evidence points to the victim’s boyfriend – who was a cop at the time – as the real killer.
The victim, Stacey Stites, was sexually assaulted and then murdered. Her boyfriend, Jimmy Fennell, was a Georgetown policeman at the time of her death.
Fennell Has History of Abusing Women
Today, he is a prison inmate, having been sentenced last September to 10 years incarceration for the kidnapping and “improper sexual activity” with a woman who was in his custody. (He’d taken her into custody after a going to the scene of an alleged domestic disturbance, where an inebriated female had been the victim of rape.)
Reed pointed to this activity by the boyfriend, as well as facts discovered by the Georgetown cops in their investigation of Fennell: apparently, Fennell had forced a woman he pulled over during a traffic stop to have sex with him; Fennell abused his ex-wife; and stalked another woman.
Four different instances of Fennell abusing women. Apparently, in an escalating pattern. Aren’t you curious what his alibi is for the murder of his girlfriend, the crime for which Reed has been convicted?
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals – So What?
So, what did the Court of Criminal Appeals say about this new evidence — evidence that a Death Row inmate might be innocent and a convicted sexual predator might be guilty? The appellate court ruled that the evidence doesn’t clear Reed and there’s nothing to show that the prosecution hid it from the defense, so nothing is going to happen here. No new trial so a factfinder can weigh this new info.
The Court of Criminal Appeals opinion is unanimous. It is also unsigned. (READ THE TEXAS CCA OPINION HERE.)
Reed Is Taking the Case to the Feds
Death Row inmate Reed isn’t giving up. He’s going over to the federal system with all this.
Let’s see what the federal appeallate court rules. You gotta wonder what those justices are going to think about an unsigned opinion coming out of Justice Sharon Keller’s court.