It has been nearly 20 years since Rodney Reed was a free man. In an interview from the Livingston, Texas prison he calls home, Reed told TWC News last week he still sees himself with a future outside of bars.
"I see myself on the outside. I have to, because I know what I miss. I miss that freedom," he said. "I'm innocent of this, I'm innocent of this. I should be at home with my family."
Reed was found guilty of murder for the 1996 death of 19-year-old Stacey Stites. She was found on the side of the road in Bastrop. Reed was having an affair with Stites, who was engaged to former cop Jimmy Fennell Jr. at the time. After her fiancé was dismissed as a suspect, investigators turned to Reed.
Reed was set to be executed March 5, but was granted a stay. Now, he reflects on his life in prison for the better half of two decades. He has seen a lot of people come and go.
"Being in 18 years and seeing a lot of guys, it's been well over 300 guys, been taken away since I've been here,” Reed said. “It's real."
Even on death row, Reed still counts his blessings.
"I've seen a lot of guys that don't have pen pals, don't have friends--that basically are by themselves, and it's hard,” he said. “It's hard on me being able to see that type of stuff. I try to do everything I can to lend what I can to the less fortunate."
Reed says he misses the simple things like fresh air and seeing the moon at night. When he's not imagining life on the other side of the fence, Reed finds ways to get through one day at a time.
"I read newspapers, magazines, do quite a bit of meditating, a little stretching, a lot of eating,” he said. “Basically trying to maintain."
Reed's greatest source of strength is his family.
"I have to be strong for them, I'm not going to just go crazy, lose my mind,” Reed said. “I've seen a lot of that stuff going back there, and I feel like being able to show the strength that I do have to my kids, it's something I can give them to keep them strong as well."
There is still no indication on exactly how long Reed's stay of execution will last. He says he is hoping that there will be a hearing soon that will allow the testing of key pieces of evidence---evidence that could exonerate Reed from death row.
Click here to watch the first part of Alex Stockwell’s interview with Rodney Reed.