BASTROP, Texas — Death row inmate Rodney Reed has filed a new appeal in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, reiterating the scientific expert opinions the state used at his Bastrop trial were false and have since been changed.
The new appeal comes one day after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Reed’s petition for further DNA testing of crime scene evidence.
Reed, since being convicted of the 1996 murder and sexual assault of 21-year-old Stacey Stites, has maintained his innocence.
Stites was found strangled on a rural Bastrop road. Reed’s defense says her former fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, is the killer.
"This now-recanted expert testimony provided a crucial link between Reed’s DNA and the murder and was used to refute Reed’s long-maintained insistence that he is innocent of the crime but was involved in a consensual sexual relationship with Stites," a statement from the Innocence Project says.
"Fennell, who was recently released after serving a 10-year prison term for a sex crime, told his best friend in 1996 that he had been out drinking on the night Stites’s was murdered. However, he testified at Reed’s trial that he and Stites spent a quiet evening at home. When called to explain this discrepancy at the October 2017 hearing, Fennell refused to testify, asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination."