In response to a motion filed requesting an execution date for death row inmate Rodney Reed, his family and supporters protested in front of the Bastrop County courthouse every morning last week.
Rodney Reed was convicted for the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites in Bastrop after DNA evidence linked him to Stites. However, Reed said he is innocent, and that he and Stites had a secret affair. His defense argued Stites had been killed by her fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, who was a Giddings police officer at the time.
Reed and his attorneys have been arguing for his innocence for years, raising various questions about the DNA evidence linking him to the murder and other untested evidence. Most recently, the Court of Criminal Appeals rejected Reed’s latest appeals last month.
The Reed Justice Initiative visited Washington, D.C. for a vigil on July 2 to ask the Supreme Court to take on Reed’s case regarding the DNA evidence and to protest against the death penalty.
Earlier this month, Bastrop County District Attorney Bryan Goertz filed a motion to set an execution date of November 20 for Reed, which was approved.
Rodrick Reed, Rodney’s brother, and Rodney Reed’s lawyer, Bryce Benjet, claim the motion to set an execution date is in retaliation to their trip to Washington when a photo from their protest in front of the Supreme Court ended up on the front page of the Bastrop Advertiser. Goertz told the Bastrop Advertiser in an article published last Thursday that this is not accurate and the request for an execution date is just the next procedural step in the case. Goertz was not available to the Elgin Courier for comment by press time.
Rodrick Reed said their next step is to bring Rodney’s case to any authority with the ability to stop the execution. Additionally, the Reed Justice Initiative is currently raising funds in hopes of travelling across the country to raise awareness of the case. In August, the group is planning a rally in Bastrop, Rodrick Reed added.
“This is now my full time job,” he said. “I had to quit my job to help save my brother's life, so I'm dedicated to this. If I starve, go hungry, I'm still going to fight.”
Rodrick Reed said the protesters have seen a lot of support from the community, from people standing with them and holding signs to people driving by and honking at them.
“It says a lot to put us on the front page protesting,” Sandra Reed, Rodney’s mother, said of the Bastrop Advertiser’s coverage. “I want Bastrop County to know that we are really appreciative of the support. It's felt.”