Thursday, December 25, 2014

Back in action. Catch-up; (14); Rodney Reed. Texas; The bad news: His motion for more DNA testing has been denied; Good news (of sorts): A separate motion delaying his execution from Jan. 15 to March 5, has been granted. The Statesman.

STORY: "Death row inmate Rodney Reed loses motion for more  DNA testing in case," by reporter Wesley Gardner, published by The Statesman on November 25, 2014.

GIST: "Death row inmate Rodney Reed’s motion for expanded DNA testing of evidence in his capital murder case was denied Tuesday by visiting Judge Doug Shaver, though the court did accept a separate motion delaying his date of execution from Jan. 15 to March 5. Reed was convicted in the 1996 murder and rape of Stacy Stites, though defense attorneys contend Jimmy Fennell, Stites’ fiance, was likely responsible for the murder. Fennell is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting a woman in his custody while employed as a Georgetown police officer. Prosecutors this summer agreed to order additional DNA tests on swabs taken from Stites’ body, cuttings taken from her underwear and strands of hair retrieved from her left sock and her body. Test results have not yet been presented to the court, but will be available before March 5, prosecutors said. Defense attorneys said Tuesday that the testing of additional items — including several pieces of clothing found on or near Stites, as well as two Busch beer cans — could also provide evidence supporting Reed’s innocence. The defense also wants to test a blue condom found near the crime scene by a resident, which was submitted to investigators several days after Stites’ murder. Shaver ultimately ruled that additional testing would unreasonably delay the execution. “Sixteen different state and federal judges have unanimously agreed that the Bastrop County jury got it right back in 1998 and that no new evidence produced has ever proven his innocence,” said Bastrop County District Attorney Bryan Goertz. “Justice delayed is no justice at all.” Reed initially became a suspect in Stites’ rape and murder after DNA results collected from a different alleged rape victim matched a sample collected from Stites’ body. Reed was indicted for several other rapes or attempted rapes during and after the Stites trial, but he was never brought to trial on those charges. Bryce Benjet, Reed’s defense attorney, said there still remains a healthy amount of suspicion regarding Stites’ murder that merit the expanded testing. “DNA testing can confirm or impeach a suspect’s account of events,” said Benjet, arguing that advances in the technology could provide new findings that could ultimately exonerate Reed. “We don’t want to execute the wrong guy here.” Assistant Attorney General Matthew Ottoway argued Reed’s motion for additional testing could have been submitted far sooner than January of this year, noting the 16 years that had passed between the time he was convicted and the timing of his initial request for DNA testing."

The entire story can be found at:


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