Appeals court denies request for DNA testing in Rodney Reed case

AUSTIN - The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has denied a request by death row inmate Rodney Reed for DNA testing on items related to the 1996 murder of a woman in Bastrop County.

The court said in its 38-page ruling that “Reed cannot establish that exculpatory DNA results would have resulted in his acquittal.” Reed has argued in the past the he and Stacey Stites, 19, were engaged in affair at the time of the murder, which would explain DNA tests showing the presence of his semen in her body. Prosecutors argued the evidence shows Reed raped Stites shortly before she was strangled in April 1996.

Reed’s attorneys have argued that Stites was most likely killed be her fiancée, Jimmy Fennell. They argued the discovery of the affair gave Fennell motive, and that modern and more-sophisticated DNA tests would tie him to Stites’ death. Fennell was later convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman in his custody while working with the Georgetown Police Department in 2007.

Reed was convicted of rape and murder in May 1998 and sentenced to death. He was 10 days from being executed in February 2015 when the appeals court issued a stay of execution.

TAP HERE to read the full ruling from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

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