BASTROP, TEXAS - Attorneys took to the Bastrop courtroom again Thursday as a man on death row continued his fight to overturn his murder conviction.
Thursday was the third day of a hearing for Rodney Reed, who was convicted and sentenced to death in the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites. His defense has argued the original case included misleading testimony and evidence that has been called into question, including evidence that points to a different suspect -- Jimmy Fennell -- who was Stites’ fiancé and a law enforcement officer at the time.
The new evidence includes a CNN interview that raises questions about where Fennell was the night before Stites was murdered. In it, Curtis Davis, said to be Fennell's best friend and criminal investigator the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office, said Fennell told him he went out drinking with some other cops that night. Based on that, Davis estimates Fennell didn't get home the night before Stites was murdered until around 10-11 p.m. During Reed's trial he had stated 8 p.m.
Lydia Clay-Jackson, Reed’s original attorney, testified on Wednesday, along with Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist and former medical examiner from New York City. Baden testified Stites was dead before midnight April 22, 1996, and that she was not sexually assaulted before her murder.
Lydia Clay-Jackson again took the stand Thursday. State attorney Matt Ottoway tried to get her to admit that when it comes to the timeline in Stites' death, Clay-Jackson had details being presented as new evidence now back in 1998. Lydia Clay-Jackson said that if she had she known about the inconsistent statements about Fennell's whereabouts the night before Stites' murder, she would have pushed harder against Fennell at trial.
After lunch, Reed's defense called up Calvin Garvie for questioning. Garvie was Clay-Jackson's co-counsel during the trial. They asked Garvie why during Reed's trial he only called up two of the numerous witnesses who could testify. Then specifically wondered why he didn't call up Curtis Davis. Garvie said they were not aware of his relationship with Fennell and had they known, they would have called him.
At the end of the day, the state called their first witness David Campos, an investigator in Stites' murder case.
Campos interviewed Fennell after Stites' murder and was asked to read the original police report. In it he states Fennell last saw Stites on the 22nd.
After that, Rocky Wardlow, the lead investigator in the case was questioned about Fennell's timeline too.
The hearing will resume tommorrow morning.
This story will be updated as the hearing progresses.
Follow reporter Erin Jones for updates from the courtroom:
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