The execution of Rodney Reed which has emerged as one of the high-profile cases in the US was halted by The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on November 15. The convict committed a murder in 1996 and was to be executed with a lethal injection on November 20. The decision comes after about 2.9 million people signed an online petition urging clemency which included support from celebrities like Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna, and Gigi Hadid. The convict said at court that he is innocent which was supported by his lawyers who said that fresh evidence in the case supports his claim. Reed is convicted of the murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites, who was found strangled after failing to turn up for work.
The decision followed the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles' recommendation of a 120-day reprieve for the inmate along with the rejection of his request to commute his sentence to life in jail. The development was praised by the Innocence Project, an organisation that has been working on the case. What has emerged from several court hearings is that supporters of Rodney claim that he is subject to discrimination by white judges and that he is innocent. The same was claimed by his lawyers who submitted new evidence in the case.
Stacey Stites's body was discovered by the police as they went on a search after her disappearance. Traces of Rodney's sperm was found in the deceased's vagina after medical tests. Back then, it was claimed that Rodney raped her after the murder with statements from medical experts who said sperm cells can't survive for more than a day. The fresh research and evidence suggest that sperm can survive more than one day which opens a window for Rodney's innocence. Links were also established with Stacey's fiance who was a white former policeman called Jimmy Fennell. A woman at the court stated that she would have strangled her fiance if she had an illicit relationship. Yet Rodney has maintained that they had consensual sex.