BASTROP, Texas — Bastrop County prosecutors have requested a Nov. 20 execution date for Rodney Reed, asking a state judge to act quickly.

Reed was arrested for the 1996 strangulation death of Stacey Stites after DNA tests linked him to the murder.

The defense lawyers for Reed responded to the request by prosecutors on Monday, asking a judge to throw out the motion to set an execution date.

The request from prosecutors came one day after the "Bastrop Advertiser" ran a story about efforts from Reed's family and supporters to fight his conviction.

Reed's defense lawyers said the prosecution's request was "in retaliation for the Reed family's legitimate exercise of their First Amendment rights."

What they're talking about is Reed's family and supporters' recent trip to Washington a few weeks ago. 

"We went to Washington to protest the death penalty – abolitionists for the death penalty and also to get my brother's story out to tell the world and get the ear of the Supreme Court," said Roderick Reed, Rodney's brother.

Rodney's defense lawyers and supporters believe the request for the execution date was retaliation since the request came a day after a local newspaper story came out about the supporters' efforts in Washington. 

"They want to retaliate on us because we said the fight is nearly not over," said Roderick.

The supporters say they're not giving up. 

"It has been one emotional roller coaster – we've had our ups and we've had our downs, but one thing about us, we have not never stopped; we have never waivered," said Roderick. "We stick together."

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Our partners at the Austin American-Statesman report Bastrop County Criminal District Attorney Bryan Goertz referred to the motion of the defense as being "ludicrous" and said the execution date request was tied to court deadlines.

The state of Texas Court of Criminal Appeal denied an appeal made last Wednesday by Reed, according to the Reed Justice Initiative.

“All of Reed’s appeals are exhausted, so from the state’s perspective [setting an execution date] is the next procedural step,” said Goertz.

The state has a law requiring courts to set execution dates at least 90 days in the future, so if the prosecution wants Reed to be executed on the date requested, an order would need to be entered by Aug. 21.

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