On Monday, U.S. Supreme Court justices denied a request to intervene in the case of Texas death row inmate Rodney Reed. Reed was convicted of the rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman 20 years ago. Reed’s defense attorneys and other supporters say he’s innocent and the case against him flawed. But the court’s denial isn’t the final word on Reed’s case.
Chuck Lindell of the Austin American-Statesman says though the justices will not step in, Reed’s execution remains on hold anyway because the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay of execution months ago. And despite the denial, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a accompanying statement that she urges the Texas courts to reevaluate Reed’s case.
“She, in fact, said there is no escaping the pall of uncertainty over Reed’s conviction,” Lindell says. “She said that Reed has presented a substantial body of evidence that, if true, casts doubt on his guilt.”
Reed’s lawyers contend that the woman who was killed, Stacey Stites, was actually murdered by her then-boyfriend, Jimmy Finnell, not Reed. The defense is basing much of this on new scientific evidence that came to light since Reed was convicted.
Reed’s case has garnered national attention, Lindell says, because a potentially innocent man could be put to death. Celebrities like Oprah and Kim Kardashian have spoken out in support of him. Lindell says Reed also has “tenacious” lawyers working on his case at the Innocence Project in New York.
Written by Caroline Covington.