BASTROP COUNTY, Texas -- Two new affidavits filed last week reveal new details in the case of Rodney Reed, the man who maintains his innocence after being sentenced to death for the 1996 rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman.
Red Rock resident Calvin "Buddy" Horton, the cousin of Stacey Stites, states in an affidavit filed last week that he saw Stites and Reed together at a Bastrop Dairy Queen months before Stites' death in April 1996.
According to Horton, he took two of his children to Diary Queen to get ice cream on a Sunday afternoon sometime in the fall of 1995. Horton said he saw Stites with a black man he did not recognize, and Stites and the man ignored him. Horton said after he saw photos of Reed on the news and in the newspaper after Stites' death, he recognized Reed as the man Stites had been with at Dairy Queen months before.
Family members of Stites and Reed maintain that the two were lovers. Reed's attorneys have said more DNA testing is required to prove Reed's innocence and maintain that Stites' fiance, Jimmy Fennell, murdered her months before their wedding when he found out she was having an affair with Reed. Fennell is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman while he was a Georgetown police officer.
"I have always believed Mr. Reed's story that he had a relationship with my cousin Stacey," Horton states in the affidavit.
Reed told KVUE in March that he first met Stites in a Bastrop pool hall. Reed's DNA linked him to the crime a year after her death. He said he and Stites had been sleeping together but kept it secret since they were both in relationships. In his original interrogation one year after Stites' death, Reed denied knowing her.
Another affidavit from attorney Jimmie L.J. Brown Jr., filed the same day, states Reed's parents hired Brown in 1997 after Reed was charged with murder to represent Reed. According to Brown, in the summer of 1997, he spoke to some of Stites' former coworkers at the Bastrop H-E-B where she worked before her death. Brown said Stites' coworkers "said that they were aware of a romantic relationship" between Stites and Reed. He said when he returned several weeks later, the coworkers would not speak to him, and Brown said he believed "someone, most probably the Bastrop City Police, had exerted pressure on them and told them not to cooperate with me or provide any information that could be helpful to Mr. Reed and his defense in this case."
Brown also said around the same time, he was being followed by a police car "every time I came to and left Bastrop." Brown stopped representing Reed in the fall of 1997 because Reed's family could not afford the attorney's fees, and he handed over his notes to the attorneys who took over the case.
Reed was convicted of Stites' rape and murder and was sentenced to death in 1998. His execution date was set for March 5, but the execution was stayed after a ruling from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in late February, "pending further order of this Court."
Reed's attorneys state in a brief filed on March 17 that they want additional testing on pieces of the belt used to strangle Stites, a name tag in the crook of Stites' knee, biological samples recovered from Stites' body, beer cans found near her body, fingerprints and multiple items recovered in and near Fennell's truck.