There is a growing outcry from a huge number of supporters, including celebrities like T.I and Rihanna, clergy and state lawmakers, trying to stop the execution of Texas death row inmate Rodney Reed, who is set to die in less than two weeks.
More than 20 years ago, Reed was sentenced to death for the 1996 murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites in Bastrop, Texas, southeast of Austin. This execution has been scheduled for November 20th 2019. Police said he assaulted, raped and strangled Stites even though the accused insists he is innocent. His attorneys said the wrong man was convicted of the crime. They point to new witness accounts and evidence they say exonerates him.
Rihanna and T.I. back campaign to save Texas death row inmate Rodney Reed
As of Thursday, over 2 million people signed a petition on freerodneyreed.com. A Change.org petition gained more than 300,000 signatures. Celebrities such as LL Cool J, Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna, Beyoncé and T.I. have declare their support for Reed, whose attorneys are seeking a new trial.
Appeals were made this week by Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, and Democratic and Republican state lawmakers to stop the execution.
However, critics on the other hand, including the lead prosecutor in Reed’s case, say there is evidence beyond doubt that he is guilty.
Benjet, a senior staff attorney at the innocent project says this execution is clearly “… a miscarriage of justice and that we can’t go forward with this execution.”
Undisputed facts points to Reeds innocence, some of which are, the murder weapon has never been tested for DNA evidence and forensic experts have admitted to errors in their testimony, which led to the conviction, not to mention mention the fact that Reed who is black is been prosecuted by a white judge.
A group of 26 bipartisan lawmakers this week wrote a letter to the Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, who can recommend clemency to the governor, urging a delay. And that “killing Rodney Reed without certainty about his guilt may exacerbate that issue and erode public trust — not only in capital punishment, but in Texas justice itself’’.
Vásquez, said in a statement that there are enough doubts that “justice dictates a careful review of the new witness statements and other evidence recently brought forward. “If the scheduled execution of Mr. Reed proceeds, there is great risk the state of Texas will execute a man who is innocent of this crime while allowing the guilty party to go free’’.