Supreme Court to hear DNA evidence case of Texas death row inmate
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - For decades, Rodney Reed has maintained he did not murder Stacey Sites in 1996.
Tuesday, Reed’s push to clear his name, and claim his due process rights were violated, will make it all the way to the U.S Supreme Court.
Reed has consistently asked courts to test DNA on the belt used to strangle Sites, claiming her fiancé Jimmy Fennel was the killer.
“Mr. Reed has a very legitimate argument as to why he should get additional DNA testing postconviction, which can very possibly establish his innocence,” Texas Innocence Project Director Mike Ware said.
Reed’s semen was found at the scene, but Reed claims he was having an affair with Sites, which angered her fiancé Fennel.
A decade after the Reed case, Fennel was convicted of kidnapping and raping a 20-year-old.
“I think that makes Mr. Reed’s position all the more compelling,” Ware said.
In 2014, the state of Texas argued the belt in question had been touched too many times to give clear answers. Reed’s appeal was eventually denied in 2017.
The state argues Reed’s statute of limitations clock began in 2014.stating he “should have known of his alleged injury in November 2014, five years before he brought his [claim.]”
The Texas Innocence project said the Supreme Court seldom looks into actual innocence of a defendant, as opposed to other legal factors, and this is their chance to do so.
“This is not just somebody on death row trying to delay the process with some frivolous claim,” Ware said. “This is a very legitimate and serious claim.”
The Texas Attorney General’s Office did not respond to our attempts at contact.
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