The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Friday afternoon stopped the scheduled execution of death row inmate and convicted murderer Rodney Reed.
The nonprofit Innocence Project, which has been representing Reed in his effort to stay alive, tweeted the court granted a stay of execution that was “indefinite.” The ruling was posted to the court’s website.
“We are extremely relieved and thankful that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) has issued a stay of execution for our client Rodney Reed,” said his attorney, Bryce Benjet, of the Innocence Project. “This opportunity will allow for proper consideration of the powerful and mounting new evidence of Mr. Reed’s innocence.”
Texas civil rights attorney S. Lee Merritt tweeted that he spoke with Reed’s family after the court ruling and they are “overjoyed but know this fight isn’t over.”
The court’s move came after the state parole board voted unanimously Friday to recommend Gov. Greg Abbott delay the execution by 120 days He was scheduled to be put to death next Wednesday.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, however, also asked that Abbott not commute Reed’s sentence to a lesser penalty. It’s unclear what the governor may decide, and his office did not immediately return a request for comment.
The call to halt Reed’s execution by lethal injection has been building in recent weeks, gaining support from a bipartisan group of about 45 state lawmakers, outspoken celebrities, including Kim Kardashian West and Oprah Winfrey, and an online petition.
Reed, now 51, was found guilty by an all-white jury in the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites, a 19-year-old grocery store worker in central Texas. His lawyers have pointed to new witnesses who have come forward and forensic evidence that has been reevaluated to insist he at least deserves a new trial. That includes at least 11 people who have recently cast doubt on Reed’s conviction and, in some cases, implicated Stites’ fiancé, Jimmy Fennell.
The parole board’s recommendation comes as Reed’s legal team has multiple appeals and motions filed and pending along various legal tracks. His lawyers have asked Abbott, a Republican, to stop the execution. Abbott has not commented publicly on the issue.
The Supreme Court might also take up the case, reinvigorating Reed’s supporters, some of whom camped out overnight Thursday to hold vigils outside of the high court awaiting a decision.
“When the whole world watches, it’s going to be hard for someone to make a mistake,” Reed’s brother, Rodrick Reed, said during a rally Thursday night near the Supreme Court. “That gives us a lot of hope and a lot of confidence that the right thing will eventually come out of this.”
Last year, the high court had refused to review an earlier Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling that rejected further DNA testing in the case — paving the way for Reed’s execution.
‘Uncle Tom’ Trends On Twitter After RNC Trots Out Black Men To Deny Trump’s Racism
Whether through sheer coincidence — or not — “Uncle Tom” was one of the top trending topics on Twitter Tuesday morning following the opening night of the Republican National Convention (RNC) that featured several Black men making the case for Donald Trump to be re-elected.
More than 6,000 “Uncle Tom” tweets were posted following speeches from Democratic Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones, former professional football star Herschel Walker and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. They each took turns trying to dispel any notion of racism in America or among its leadership despite Trump’s repeated personal demonstrations to the contrary.
“The Democratic Party does not want Black people to leave their mental plantation,” Jones, who has been called an “embarrassment” to Democrats, said Monday night at the RNC. “We’ve been forced to be there for decades and generations. But I have news for Joe Biden: We are free. We are free people with free minds.”
Walker, who was one of Trump’s employees when he played in the USFL — another of Trump’s failed business ventures — said his “soul” was hurt when he learned people called the president racist.
“I take it as a personal insult that people think I would have a 37-year friendship with a racist,” Walker said Monday night with a straight face during his official endorsement of Trump’s re-election.
“These shots pierce the soul of our nation,” stated Biden on Jacob Blake shooting
Former Vice President and Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden issued a statement Monday morning on the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
“Yesterday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back as police attempted to restrain him from getting into his car,” the statement reads. “His children watched from inside the car and bystanders watched in disbelief. And this morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force. This calls for an immediate, full and transparent investigation and the officers must be held accountable.”
A short video circulating on social media shows a man, presumably Blake, walking toward a vehicle. The video shows that police shoot the man in the back as he opened the driver’s door of the car.
“These shots pierce the soul of our nation,” stated Biden. “Jill and I pray for Jacob’s recovery and for his children.”
“Equal justice has not been real for Black Americans and so many others,” the statement continues. “We are at an inflection point. We must dismantle systemic racism. It is the urgent task before us. We must fight to honor the ideals laid in the original American promise, which we are yet to attain: That all men and women are created equal, but more importantly that they must be treated equally.”
Protests erupted after the shooting Sunday. Fires were set to dumpsters meant to block off roads in the area. The Kenosha County Courthouse and Administration Building were both closed Monday due to overnight damage from the unrest.