BASTROP, Texas — The third day of Rodney Reed's hearing consisted mainly of the testimony of Reed's original defense lawyers from his 1998 trial.
Reed is currently on death row and was convicted of the murder and rape of 19-year-old Stacey Stites, a Bastrop woman whose body was discovered along a rural road in Bastrop on April 23, 1996.
Five witnesses took the stand, but the majority of statements came from Reed's court-appointed attorneys, Lydia Clay-Jackson and Calvin Garvie.
Clay-Jackson resumed her testimony from Wednesday in which she said she was not given enough time to prepare Reed's case before trial and the odds were stacked against her team.
She wasn't appointed until January 1998, and only had about eight weeks to get ready for the March 1998 trial.
This week's hearing was ordered back in May by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which cited new evidence obtained by Reed's attorneys that points to Jimmy Fennell, Jr. — Stites' fiancé — as the one who committed the crime.
That evidence is a CNN interview with Curtis Davis — Fennell's best friend and fellow Giddings cop — that was done in the summer of 2016. In that interview, Davis says Fennell told him a different timeline for his whereabouts on the night before Stites was murdered.
At trial, Fennell testified that he was home by 8 p.m. on April 22, 1996 and went to bed with Stacey around 9 p.m. But Davis said Fennell told him he'd gone out drinking with other cops after their baseball practice. Davis estimates that Fennell didn't return home until 10-11 p.m.
Thursday, Clay-Jackson stated that had she known about Fennell's conflicting timeline of his alibi, that information would have drastically changed their case in Reed's trial.
Calvin Garvie, Reed's other original attorney, was next to take the stand. He testified that he was appointed to represent Reed at the end of October 1997.
Garvie also explained that the defense was given a list of 278 witnesses without any indication of priority or relevance to the murder investigation, and their small team of three people--the two attorneys and an investigator granted after their continuance request was denied--did not have enough time or resources to do a sufficient job.
During cross-examination, the state's prosecutor asked why Garvie and the defense did not invest all of their resources into investigating Fennell when he was their number one suspect for Stites' murder. Garvie responded by testifying that doing so would require them to ignore all the other witnesses and suspects.
Garvie also said having the information from the CNN interview regarding Fennell's inconsistent timeline would have made a huge difference in their case.
The state's witnesses consisted of two Bastrop police department investigators and a Texas Ranger who worked on the 1996 investigation.
Friday, the state is expected to call two additional witnesses: another Bastrop police investigator and Stacey Stites' mother, Carol.
The hearing is expected to resume at 9 a.m. Friday and conclude by then end of the day.
Follow moment-by-moment updates each day of the trial from reporter Alex Stockwell over on her Twitter, @AlexRStockwell.