Justice for Rodney Reed at Cardozo Law School

– Hi, so welcome, everyone. Appreciate you guys coming
in on such a rainy evening. Today we’re going to be talking about the case of Rodney Reed. We will have a screening of two portions of a film that’s been produced by some of Rodney’s supporters that kind of tells the story. It’s the first two of about I think there’s four or five parts now. And so we encourage folks to take a look at the rest of it as well. But we wanted to just
kind of give everybody a kind of overview of the
case and the flavor of it and then we’re going to have a panel including myself, Professor Miller and Clare Haugh, who is a clinic student with the Innocence Project as well as Roderick Reed and Uwana Akpan. Roderick is Rodney’s brother and Uwana is his sister-in-law and they can talk about their journey over the last month or so advocating for Rodney as well. So I don’t want to
necessarily preempt the movie. But obviously if there are
questions about the case we can handle those during
the panel discussion. Wanted to let folks know
that we are live streaming on Facebook and Twitter and that for those of
you watching remotely you are free to join the conversation. During the panel we’ll
be taking questions both in person I think we have distributed
cards for people as well as on the various
feeds on the social media. Other sort of nuts and bolts this is a film that is not produced by the Innocence Project
or Rodney’s legal team. And so any opinions or
assertions in that film are the opinions of the
producer and not us although we certainly
appreciate the great work that’s gone into making this film and we think that there are
important points made therein. I also want to just warn
folks here and online that some of the images,
this is a murder case and it involves forensic evidence and some of the sort of unpleasantries that go along with a case
like that in terms of images. So just be prepared that there could be some unpleasant images in the film. And so without further ado I think we’ll screen the film and then the panel will come out and we’ll have hopefully ample time to talk about the case,
what folks are doing and answer questions and hopefully have a lively
discussion about this case questions of innocence, and
the death penalty in general. Also because this is a Cardozo event certainly if folks are interested about the Innocence Project Clinic either come talk to me or we
can talk about that as well. So thanks again for coming and let’s watch the film. – [Woman] Bastrop County sheriff says that they found the body of a woman along the dirt road of 1441. Now let me tell you, this morning 19-year-old Stacey Lee
Stites was reported missing and never arrived at work. – [Narrator] In 2006, a
small documentary film team helped expose how an innocent man ended up on Texas’s death row. – Anyway, my personal opinion when I heard that she had been killed was that Finnell had done it, immediately. And I know a number of people around here that felt the same way. – [Narrator] It soon became apparent that the case against Rodney Reed was not just a small town affair. – And I believe the state knew about it I believe the district attorney
of Bastrop knew about it I believe the sheriff’s
department knew about it and I believe the Bastrop
police department knew about it. And I do believe they covered that up. They did not want a
fellow officer implicated. – [Narrator] In the past 13 years the evidence has continued to mount in favor of Rodney Reed’s innocence. – A Georgetown police sergeant is spending the night behind bars. Jimmy Fennell, Jr., is accused of sexually assaulting
a woman he detained. – His guilty pleas today
could play a major role in the appeal process of
convicted murderer Rodney Reed. – [Narrator] Key witnesses have
recanted crucial testimony. – Did Roberto Bayardo make missteps that hindered justice in some of the most high profile crime a man within days of execution now awaiting word of an appeal after Bayardo clarified his conclusions on when that woman died? – [Narrator] Key law enforcement officials who oversaw the initial investigation had been charged and convicted for their own misconduct. – [Man] The man who oversaw
the Reed investigation Bastrop sheriff Richard Hernandez who also turned out to be a dirty cop and pled guilty to six felonies. – [Narrator] And critical
scientific medical evidence has been discovered that essentially exonerates Rodney Reed. – She had been face down
for five or more hours in one position before she was turned over and put in a new position. She was dead, around midnight
she was already dead. – [Narrator] Yet instead
of exonerating Reed or even retrying him
under fair conditions the Texas courts have decided to set a November 20th
execution date for this year. – State prosecutors are
now asking to execute convicted murdered Rodney Reed. – [Narrator] The amount of injustice wrought against Rodney Reed in this case is impossible to measure. And the fact that the state
continues to seek his execution defies common sense and human decency. This documentary series
is intended to highlight the evidence and the witnesses that prove Rodney’s innocence in hopes that Texas halts the execution of this innocent man. (gentle music) On the morning of May 6th,
1998, Doctor Roberto Bayardo Travis County, Texas, Medical Examiner told a lie. He was testifying during
the trial of Rodney Reed for the capital murder of a local 19-year-old
girl, Stacey Stites. When asked by special
prosecutor Lisa Tanner approximately what time he
believed the victim to have died he answered, “around 3:00
a.m. on April 23rd, 1996.” A few years later, I asked him how he came up with that
specific time at trial. In your trial testimony you said that time of the death
was around 3:00 a.m. Do you remember how you could have came to that conclusion? – [Roberto] We know when she was last seen and we know when the body was found. So we have a precise time. – [Narrator] So Doctor Bayardo’s testimony regarding the victim’s time of death was based on the word of
Stacey’s live-in boyfriend and fiancee and local police
officer, Jimmy Finnell who told police she would
have left their apartment around 3:00 a.m. to go to work. Doctor Bayardo’s estimated time of death was not based on any
actual medical science. – Usually the first
question the police officer the investigators, want to
know is when did she die because that will
influence the investigation of whom to interview and
who’s telling the truth and who isn’t. This is something that
all medical examiners and coroners learn immediately is that there are certain
changes in the body that indicate how long
somebody’s been dead. – [Narrator] Doctor Michael Baden is one of the nation’s
foremost authorities in forensic pathology. He was the former Chief Medical Examiner from New York City and he was appointed the Chairman of the United States Forensic Panel that investigated the
deaths of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. He has performed over 20,000 autopsies throughout his decades-long career. After reviewing the autopsy
and crime scene video Doctor Baden, along with two
other renowned pathologists concluded that the victim
had died much earlier than Doctor Bayardo had testified most likely well before
midnight on April 22nd. – My opinion, to a
reasonable medical certainty she was dead before midnight of the day the next day that she was found. She was dead, around midnight
she was already dead. – [Narrator] Experts also
noted it appeared obvious that the body had been moved at least three to four
hours after the murder by looking at telltale signs
of the body’s condition. – The appearance of Stacey Stites’ body at the scene where she was found later that afternoon around
three o’clock that afternoon which shows a pinkish-red color on the front areas of her body that are due to what’s called lividity the settling of blood
by gravity after death. And in this instance,
there was fixed lividity on the front of her body. And that would indicate
that she had been face down for five or more hours in one position before she was turned over to the new position. – [Narrator] Lividity, or
the gravitational pooling of red blood cells, is a
basic forensic indicator of what happened to the body after death. Yet neither rookie field
analyst Karen Blakeley nor Doctor Bayardo made any
mention of this evidence which is clearly obvious
in the crime scene tape. – This is the right hand and it shows that she’s
laying face up and hand up but the lividity is inappropriate because that only developed
when the hand was down when the hand and forearm
were in a downward position. So it would support the conclusion that she was laying face down the hand and the arm were face down for at least four or five hours in order for this to still be there. One can see in the tips of the fingers pale whiteness in the second, third fourth and fifth fingers. And that’s because of the time she was laying face down elsewhere the fingers were against an object which pressed out the lividity. So it gives some information as to her being face
down with the hand down for many hours before she
was moved to this position. – [Narrator] And finally,
the experts agreed that the type and amount of bodily fluids found on the floor of the pickup truck that Stacey and Jimmy Finnell shared which was found abandoned eight miles away in a local high school parking lot was indicative of her being
placed and kept in that truck three or four hours after
she had been killed. – And then mucoid-type fluid would come out of her nose and mouth which is an early part of
the decomposition process after we die. This takes three to four hours to develop under these conditions she was in. – [Narrator] That time period
would make Jimmy Finnell the one and only person
who could have killed her. For he testified that he and Stacey were alone in their apartment from 8:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. on the night that she was killed. The earlier time of death and the proof of movement of
the body hours after the murder completely exonerates Rodney Reed who, by the state’s own admission and Jimmy Finnell’s testimony would not have had access
to the victim for that long or anywhere near that time period. None of this basic forensic analysis was ever completed by Doctor Bayardo. But without credible medical testimony or an expert of his own Rodney Reed was at the
mercy of Bayardo’s lie. Were you surprised if I told you the defense never called a
medical examiner in this case for their own expert? – I mean, they called me so I was there. You mean they didn’t call any extra another medical examiner,
another expert on this case? No, it doesn’t surprise me. Counties like these are poor people the counties don’t have the
money to pay for expert. – [Narrator] The circumstances surrounding Bayardo’s involvement in
the autopsy of Stacey Stites indicates that he may well
have been incentivized to testify in favor of the prosecution. – We found making money could
be at the root of the problem. – [Narrator] A 2016 investigative report by Austin’s KXAN news team uncovered a decades-long scheme by Bayardo to increase his salary by
conducting out-of-county autopsies and pocketing the proceeds. Stacey Stites was one of those autopsies. – [Reporter] An analysis of
Bayardo’s near three decades in office shows he consistently performed between 395 and 823 autopsies a year. Over time, Bayardo raked
in around $2.6 million performing autopsies
for 45 other counties. To protect his lucrative arrangement it makes sense that Bayardo
would bend his testimony to support the prosecutors
who work for the same county that paid him his extra fees. Bayardo specifically testified he did not financially benefit
from Stacey Stites’ autopsy. The records indicate he clearly did. Despite Bayardo’s lack of credibility and his conflict of interests and his own signed statement that now recants his original
time of death estimate Texas courts have refused to even consider the alternative evidence
brought fourth by Doctor Baden. – [Judge Shaver] Doctor
Baden free to leave? – [Man] Yes. – [Judge Shaver] I imagine he has more important things to do, certainly. – This is important. – Thank you for coming.
– Thank you, your honor. Thank you. – [Narrator] And so
Bayardo’s lie still stands as a key fact in the
case against Rodney Reed that now has him on the verge of execution by the state of Texas. It was a simple lie
from a medical examiner that went unchallenged by an overmatched and underprepared defense team. But it was a lie that
single-handedly covered up the many lies that preceded it in the case against Mr. Reed such as the lies of the prosecution who failed to hand over
crucial DNA evidence that placed other police officers and friends of Jimmy Finnell
at the scene of the crime and the lies of the lead
investigator, Rocky Wardlow who covered for Jimmy Finnell by not checking the apartment
he shared with Stacey and returning the pickup truck before adequate testing
could be completed. And finally, it covered
up the biggest lie of all specifically Jimmy Finnell’s denial when I asked if he was involved in the murder of Stacey Stites a lie that now has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt by irrefutable scientific facts. (gentle music) – We were talking about
her engagement ring. And I was, like, “Oh, are you
so excited to get married?” And she said she really wasn’t
so excited to get married and quickly followed that with saying that she was actually sleeping with a black guy named Rodney. (gentle music) – [Interviewer] Okay. Start with your name and
your employment with H-E-B and the timeframe that happened in. – ‘Kay. My name’s Alicia Slater and I worked at the H-E-B in Bastrop from 1995 to 1996 before
I graduated high school. I knew Stacey since she was
a year or two older than me and didn’t work in the same
department or anything. I was just the bagger and
the cart girl outside mostly. But we just knew each other through work and we had lunch together in
the break room quite often. – [Narrator] Proof of a preexisting consensual sexual relationship between Rodney Reed and Stacey Stites would be a key exonerating
piece of evidence in his case for proving the relationship would provide a reasonable explanation to why a small amount of Reed’s sperm was found on the victim. In fact, in the 2012 denial
of Rodney Reed’s appeal Texas Court of Criminal Appeals judge Andrew W. Austin wrote that Reed’s claim of a consensual
relationship is effectively the beginning and end of
his assertion of innocence. Austin further stated that all witnesses to this relationship had been friends and
associates of Rodney Reed and not of Stacey Stites and therefore were unreliable. Finally Austin wrote
that because Reed’s claim that he had an affair with Stacey Stites does not have credible
evidentiary support his claims of actual innocence is doomed. But what if such a witness existed? – There was one instance
where we were having lunch in the break room together
and it was just the two of us and she pretty much was confiding in me. We were talking about her engagement ring. And I was, like, “Oh, are you
so excited to get married?” And she said she really wasn’t
so excited to get married and quickly followed that with saying that she was actually sleeping
with a black guy named Rodney and that she was not sure
what her fiancee would do if he found out and she had to be pretty careful about it. So she wasn’t really excited
about getting married because she was sleeping with a black dude named Rodney, she said. – [Narrator] According to
Rodney Reed’s first lawyer Jimmy Brown, there were multiple coworkers at Stacey’s grocery store job who knew and witnessed a relationship between she and Rodney Reed. – On everything that Rodney
told me that happened I was able to verify. – [Narrator] In a 2015
affidavit, Jimmy Brown states when he returned to
the store a week later those same witnesses were
unwilling to speak with him under a presumed threat
from the Bastrop police. Witness intimidation and threat were two of the main reasons Rodney Reed’s lawyers had difficulty establishing the relationship
during the original trial. However, since then, 20 different
people have come forward giving their personal knowledge that the relationship indeed existed including Alicia Slater who moved to California
shortly after the murder and did not realize until recently how important her
information was to the case. – At the time, I didn’t speak up because I did know I
had something to lose. I had my whole family still in Bastrop. I didn’t want to, you know,
have anything happen to them because I’m implicating a
cop from the next town over. So I have big regret that I
didn’t come out in the beginning and say anything and then I just didn’t realize that what I had to say
meant so much in this case because the that’s what it came down to yeah, they were having an affair. She told me. I thought more people
knew about it as well. So, you know, I 100% remember everything about that conversation. And she was scared, in a way. And then she was also super happy because she’s sleeping with
this guy named Rodney, you know? And I didn’t know who Rodney was didn’t know who Jimmy was. So I had zero affiliation to either one of them. I’m not a family member. All I knew was Stacey from work. And all I know is what she told me and that’s all I can, you know I stand by my word but that. – [Narrator] The fact
that a 19-year-old-girl would not want to volunteer information that could implicate a local
police officer in a murder is highly understandable. And yet it underscores the major issue of witness intimidation in
the case against Rodney Reed. – ‘Cause I just realized when I heard that it was still happening and that he was actually
had an execution date set I felt like it’s now or never. I need to say something because if that was the only
thing that convicted him and I had no idea about
any of the other stuff you know, if just that was a
reason why he was convicted then that’s not true. And I needed to say something that Stacey physically
sat there and told me she was sleeping with him. I never saw them
together, I never saw him. But I knew what she told me. So I knew it hade some
implication in the case. – [Narrator] In addition to Alicia Slater fellow H-E-B grocery store
worker LeeRoy Ybarra has stated he actually saw Reed
visiting Stites at the store. And Stacey Stites’ cousin, Buddy Horton has sworn he saw the two
together at a local Dairy Queen a few months before her murder. – I just wanted to help
in whatever way I can. So that still stands. You know, if I needed to come
in and be a credible witness that had nothing to do with any of them that just happened to work with Stacey and just happened to talk
to her in the break room you know, that’s definitely something I’d be willing to do to help this. – [Interviewer] And you’d also be willing to take a polygraph test? – Yes, oh yeah. I would be willing to
take a polygraph test for everything I’ve stated. (gentle music) – [Narrator] And yet instead of pursuing this vital piece of evidence
and seeking the truth the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals have completely ignored Alicia
Slater’s sworn affidavit. – State prosecutors are
now asking to execute convicted murdered Rodney Reed. – [Narrator] With medical
experts now agreeing Stacey Stites was not sexually assaulted. – There was no evidence,
absolutely no evidence in the autopsy or the
findings or the photographs that she had been sexually assaulted. – [Narrator] And multiple
eyewitnesses verifying a preexisting relationship between Stacey Stites and Rodney Reed. There remains absolutely
no physical evidence linking Reed to the crime
that he is now set to die for. Alternatively, there is
an overwhelming abundance of evidence implicating Stacey Stites’ police officer boyfriend Jimmy Finnell as well as clear indications of a coverup by fellow police officers,
investigators and prosecutors to keep that truth from ever being known. The existence of a coverup
and those involved in it could be a key contributing factor as to why the state has
refused to acknowledge the truth in this case despite convincing and credible evidence of Reed’s innocence which leaves the question how broken is our justice system that it would move forward and knowingly execute an innocent man? And what can be done now to stop them? (gentle music) – Hello. I’d like to thank everyone
for coming here tonight. I’d also like to thank those of you who are watching online
via Facebook or Twitter. Please remember you can
join the conversation by using #RodneyReed. We’re going to begin our panel discussion. I’m going to introduce
myself and everyone else. For those of you who have
questions during this discussion that you’d like to ask
some of the panelists there should be note
cards that you can use to write those questions out. And then we’ll collect them and answer your questions at the end. My name is Kathryn Miller. I teach here at Cardozo in
the Criminal Defense Clinic. It’s an honor to be here today. I feel connected to this case because I’m also a
capital litigator myself and have worked previously at Bryan Stevenson’s
Equal Justice Initiative and more recently at the Berkeley
Law Death Penalty Clinic where I have likewise represented folks on Texas’ death row. So it’s an honor to be here tonight. To my right I have Roderick Reed who is the brother of Rodney Reed and also one of his advocates and his wife, Uwana Akpan who is Rodney’s sister-in-law and also one of his familial advocates. We have Clare Haugh, who
is a Cardozo law student working in the Innocence Project Clinic and we have Bryce Benjet who is the senior staff attorney
at the Innocence Project and the lead counsel on Mr. Reed’s case. So welcome, everyone. – Thank you.
– Thank you. Let’s start talking
about the case generally. I’ll start with the first
question for Mr. Benjet. How did you come to be
involved in Rodney’s case? – When I was a law student I actually took a clinic on death penalty post-conviction representation. And that really kind of got me involved in these kind of cases and kind of set me on the
path of where we are today. After I graduated, I went
to work for a nonprofit called the Texas Defender Service which represents people
on Texas’ death row. One of the cases that I was
assigned was Rodney Reed. At that time, very little work
had been done on the case although there were these
questions floating around as to whether he committed the crime. And that is actually much less common than one would think
in death penalty cases. So we began to investigate the case and uncover the fact that
the forensics were no good and basically started to litigate through the byzantine process
of post-conviction law. Flash forward almost 20
years and we’re still at it. Gives you a sense of kind
of how difficult and complex these cases are and the kind of fortitude you have to have to keep with it. I guess that’s the short
answer how I got involved. – Okay. And Mr. Reed, Ms. Akpan,
as family advocates can you talk a little bit
about your advocacy work on behalf of Rodney, sort of how it began and how it’s evolved over time? – Well, right out of the gate we knew Rodney was innocent. And we were with him from that day. And in the beginning,
we seemed to be alone. At least we thought we were
alone, you know what I mean because we were being treated as pariah in our own community and such. But then they came a group called Campaign to End the Death Penalty. And they came to our home and spoke to the family and invited us to go to some of the rallies and stuff that they were having in the beginning. So we went, we listened. And then they started
encouraging us to speak. And we started speaking. And one thing led to another. Next thing you know, we ended up being key speakers at certain
rallies and stuff like this. And in the beginning we got into it just to save my brother’s life. That was our sole purpose right there to save my brother’s life. But as the years progressed I seen that there was thousands
of Rodney Reeds out there. I seen the pain in other
family members’ face. And I could relate because I’m dealing still dealing with that same pain today. And so we were trying to figure out how can we not only bring Rodney home but help others at the same time? What can we do? And me and Rodney would talk I’d go and visit him and he’s saying “You know, like these campaigns they got “you know, bro, you can do that. “You have the mental
capacity, you can do that. “You can organize these things. “You just need, you know.” So we started doing certain things and then my wife and I, we sat down my wife and my mother and I and we came up with
Reed Justice Initiative. And that was something that we designed to do just that, to help people that was in similar situation like Rodney whether it be death penalty or just a regular case, you know because we believe in the truth we believe in justice,
we believe in right. And so that’s how we got started and that’s what we’ve been doing. And we’ve been going
full steam ahead nonstop. In June, late June, early July when the Bastrop County District Attorney asked for that date out of retaliation for us going to the Supreme Court exercising our rights then they asked for that date. And then that’s when I said
to myself and I said to Uwana I said, “We got to kick this thing up.” Because we’re here,
trying to save his life they are retaliating and
trying to have ’em take it. I said so what we’ve
been doing was basically we’ve been in Texas telling the story to different people in Texas. I said, “We got to get out of Texas. “We got to put our face out
there all across America. “We got to get the story out to anybody “and everybody that will listen.” And so that’s what we’ve been doing. – Okay. And recently you have been involved in some very high profile events working with Sister Helen Prejean protesting outside the Supreme Court appearing on Doctor Phil. Can you talk a little bit about what those
experiences have been like? – Well, yeah. Back in 2015 I was invited to a church, it
was a Quaker House, a church to speak about Rodney’s case. I had no idea Sister Helen would be there. You know, I wasn’t informed about it. And if I was, I really didn’t even know who she was at that
time, to put it that way. And so we spoke and everything and Sister Helen, she came up to me and she talked to me for a while. And I was explaining to
her about my brother’s case and everything else and I was telling her
about what happened in 2012 when Robert Bayardo recanted
his whole statement. That was a hinch pin on which
they convicted my brother on just his statement, you know what I mean? They had nothing else. Three sperm heads and this statement. And he recanted. But my brother is still on death row. You know, I asked could
she do more to help us out? And she said she would. So we stayed in contact with her. And then as we went on, we
started meeting different people. And then we got hooked
up with some people A&E and different people,
producers and stuff and a friend of mine,
Steph Watts, you know he’s sitting over here and he hooked things up and put us in line with people that had the ability to get Rodney’s story out there to help lift our voice. And so then Kevin Gannon came into it retired NYPD detective and everything. So that’s how it all transpired. And then together, I don’t
know how they did it next thing I know, Doctor
Phil is saying, “Hey “you want to come out to the show?” And so we said yes, we would. So we flew out there on a Sunday which was on the 6th of this month and we filmed that show on the 7th. And then the show was a two-day series. And we did both shootings
that same day on the 7th and they turned around, they
aired it on the 10th and 11th. They said, “We’re going
to get this out there “as quick and fast as we can “because time is of the essence.” But what really impressed me
or really stood out for me is at the beginning of the show when Doctor Phil, he came out and he said “I’m going to say right here “that this is probably one
of the most important stories “that I’ve done in my 18
years of being Doctor Phil.” He prefaced the whole show with that. And then, if you haven’t
seen it you need to see it. You know, you need to go
and look for it online. It’s an incredible job
that they did there. And since then, we’ve been we hooked back up with
Sister Helen after that. And where we at? – Columbus, Ohio.
– Columbus, Ohio. Columbus, Ohio. We’ve been so many
places I get twisted up. So you got to forgive me. So we met with her in Columbus, Ohio and she has been helping she’s been retweeting and retweeting and they’ve been working with us and trying to help us
secure different venues and everything along the way along with Witness the
Innocence, the Journey of Hope– – Death Penalty Action.
– Death Penalty Action. A lot of people, a lot of activists has been coming together
and banding behind us because it don’t take a rocket scientist to just see the injustice in this case the mis-prosecutorial conduct the racism, you know, it’s all out there. And all we’re asking is for people not to believe what the family is saying but get the information, use
what God gave you, your brain and come up with your own conclusion. And not only are we saying these things we have members of
Stacey Stites’ own family that are behind us, saying that “we feel “Mr. Reed did not get a fair trial. “We feel that you all will
be executing the wrong man. “And executing Mr. Reed will
not give justice to Stacey.” – They also say that they believe Jimmy Finnell got away with
murdering their loved on. – Exactly. That’s her family members,
her own family members. About 11 or 12 of ’em wrote
a letter to the governor wrote a letter for clemency wrote a letter to Bastrop
County District Attorney and appeared on the
Doctor Phil show as well one of the family members. So we getting support
from the Stites family from our family, from a
whole bunch of abolitionists you know, out there, and we just so grateful and thankful for the opportunity to be here and grateful and thankful for everybody that had any part in helping us uplift my brother’s story here. – [Kathryn] That’s incredible. – Yeah. – And just to share a little
bit about your brother what was Rodney’s childhood like? What was it like for you guys growing up? – Well, we come, I come
from a large family. There’s six boys, no girls. My dad was in the military. He’s retired Air Force. He spend 30-some years in the Air Force. We moved all over. So we basically grew up on
the military installation. We wasn’t raised to see color. Was raised to treat people
the way we want to be treated no matter what, and to respect people. And so we had a pretty good childhood. My mom was a nurse, a nurse’s aid and she was a caregiver, in other words. And so we had a good life. My brother, he was involved
in sports, very active football, basketball, any kind of sports. He was also Golden Glove Champion two years in a row in Texas. He was a father, a good father. He is a father, should I say. Not was, he is a father. And he was a good father until they snatched him up out of there. But our life, we had a good life and our family was whole and we were happy and things were good up until 1998. And we’ve been dealing with it ever since. – Clare, just to turn to you can you tell us a little bit what the student experience has been like to be assigned to Mr. Reed’s case and sort of how the experience
has evolved over time? – Definitely. I asked Bryce actually a few
weeks into my summer internship with the Innocence Project whether he had any death penalty cases that needed a student assigned because it was one of the things that drew me to the Innocence Project that potential to save a life. And he said, “Sure, I don’t have anyone “on Rodney’s case yet,” and then it was kind of a
quiet time for the case. We were maybe waiting on a decision maybe going to file a civil
rights lawsuit for him. We weren’t in a rush to do anything. And he said, “Why don’t you start “by reading the state habeas writs “the most recent things we filed “to get caught up “and bring yourself up
to speed on the case?” And so I started doing that. This is kind of the standard
law student practice for when we get assigned to a new case. You kind of get a bunch
of documents on your desk and start working through them. And that’s really an interesting process because to me, I kind of think of it as, like, you’re a juror in
the trial that should have been because you’re getting the
factual background of the case and then you’re getting all the new evidence we’ve discovered. You’re getting everything
else that we know now that they didn’t know then that makes a difference to the case. And so one day, about
a week, week and a half into learning the case,
Bryce emails me and says “Oh, we have a call with Rodney next week. “Come along.” And I’m excited. I get to meet a client. Meeting clients is new and exciting and the best part about being
in the Innocence Project as a student. And we’re sitting in Bryce’s office and we’re catching up with Rodney and– – Brianna, and just to I had been told by a lawyer in Texas that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals which was considering
a pending appeal there had sort of closed up shop for the summer. And so we were pretty sure that, you know we were good for at least
the month of August. So that was sort of the beginning of what we thought was going to be kind of a, you know,
pleasant get-to-know-you kind of call with Clare, but. (chuckles) – Didn’t turn out that way. It was going great, and Bryce
having worked on Rodney’s case for 20 years, has a relationship
and a rapport with Rodney and Rodney’s making fun of Bryce and everyone’s having a nice time and I’m getting to know Rodney. And maybe 45 minutes into the call we get an email that the Court
of Criminal Appeals in Texas has handed down a
decision on Rodney’s case. And we didn’t think anything was coming for the rest of the summer. And they denied his
latest habeas petition. They turned us out of state court. And all of a sudden, the timbre
of the conversation changed. My initial get-to-know-you
call with my new amazing client has turned into a strategy meeting and breaking the news of
the denial in state court and what does this mean and
where do we go from here? It was jarring to come
onto a case that way. Afterwards I was just kind of stunned and didn’t know how to process it. I can’t even imagine how Rodney felt sitting on that call, getting
to know his new student catching up with his attorney hearing about the next
phase in this litigation this new civil rights suit we might file about the DNA testing
that we’re trying to get and then to hear something
has happened we don’t expect. And there’s the elephant in the room that it’s come over the
summer and Bryce said it and it’s, this means they’re
probably going to try to set a date on you, Rodney. It was a tough conversation to have. It definitely set a pace for the summer. It was a different way
to come onto a case because my other cases that I’ve taken on I’ve done the same
integral beginning process of reading the documents on my desk and getting to know the
evidence as it’s presented and getting to know the client and seeing where can we go from here? But with a death penalty case and with the prospect of a date possibly being just around the corner it set everything into action and it moves everything at a faster pace. And that’s intentional. So it’s really set the
pace for my experience thus far at the Innocence Project. Roderick and Uwana, I know
this is a difficult question. But what impact has it had on your family to have Rodney be wrongfully convicted and then sentenced to death? What does that feel like? – (clears his throat)
What does that feel like? Well, the impact has been very traumatic. It’s been very stressful. It’s been like a nightmare that you cannot wake up from for 22 and a half years. It’s like that movie “Groundhog Day,” where you wake up and
it’s right back there right back at you, you know what I mean? You know for my family for my mom, you know and I’m looking at all
these years that’s going by and my brother has lost
both of my mom’s mother my dad’s mother, my aunts and uncles people are life going on. And then to lose my dad. – [Kathryn] So sorry. – You know? He lost my dad in March. But my dad did live long enough to see him get that first stay in 2015. And I’m at the hospital with my dad and he calls me over to his bed. My dad knew he wasn’t, he
didn’t have but hours to live. He calls me over to his bed
and he tells me, he says “I’m proud of you. “I’m proud of you for
fighting for your brother “the way you been fighting
for your brother.” And he says, “Just keep up the fight “and be there for your mama, help her. “Help her, support her.” And I promised him I would. And then that’s when I even picked it up even another notch now my dad is not here. And so it’s been real hard for the family. And it’s hard for me now. But no matter how hard it
gets, how rough it gets we will not stop. We’re not going to stop. You know, I tell people, they say “What is it like to have
a brother on death row “and you have all this evidence out there “all these witnesses and everything “but he’s still locked up “and he’s been locked
up for all these years? “What’s it like?” And I tell people, I says “It’s like being stabbed with a knife. “And they put that knife
in you in such a way “that it don’t kill you. “And you have to live
with that pain every day “but you can’t remove it yourself. “And you have to learn to
live with that pain every day “when you wake up, when you go to sleep. “But the thing is, everybody
sees that knife stuck in you. “Some people even comment “‘Hey, you got a knife stuck in you. “‘Hope you get it out.’ “But nobody is coming to action “to help you remove that knife.” That’s what it feels like. And you say, “People, can’t
you see we’re suffering here? “Can’t you see the pain that we’re in?” And people are just walking by you like if nothing is wrong you know what I mean? And they see everything wrong. It’s in their face. And that’s what it’s like for
me and my family, you know. The churches at that
time were shunning us wouldn’t give us help. The only place we knew to go to get help we figured’d be our church. We couldn’t get it there. We had a pastor tell us,
“I wouldn’t touch that “with a 10-foot pole.” You know, that kind of stuff. It’s been very hard. Couldn’t get a job in that town. Your last name Reed, oh, Reed, okay. Everybody thinks and
tries to put that jacket on you as well when he did not even deserve
the jacket in the first place. So yeah, it’s been real
tough on our family and it still is because right now as we sit right here, my
brother sits on death row scheduled to be executed
within a matter of weeks for something he did not do. – I think it’s really
important to tell the people about how they rounded up
your dad and your brothers and, you know, they tried to they’ve been repeatedly
denying DNA testing but they went as far as to
forcefully take y’all’s DNA. – Yeah, that is a good point. You know, so much stuff has happened over these last 20-some years when I sit down, there’s
things that I just can’t I can’t say it all. But that is a very important part ’cause it comes down to the issue of DNA. Well, when they had my brother this is before his court case before he was convicted they rounded up every male in our family and took our blood, without our consent or showing any court order. They came to my job. Came to my job. Rocky Warlow, the one you
all seen on this film he was Texas Ranger. Him, sheriff’s department,
they had a member of SWAT city police, like, they
was coming to arrest me for a capital murder. So I didn’t know what was going on. And they come to me and
they say, “Well, Mr. Reed “we got to get some of your
DNA and everything else.” I say, “Well, I’m not going to take it.” They say, “Well, you got to come with us.” So they put me in a car. And they drove me downtown Austin. And to this day I can’t
remember the parking garage where we went down underground. And when they stopped, there was two guys standing there with a plate
with some syringes and napkins and all kinds of stuff on it. I said, “What you all
going to do with that?” And they said, “We’re
going to get your blood.” I said, “Well, you all not
getting my blood today. “I’m not giving it to you.” They said, “Well, Mr.
Reed, you got a choice. “You can give it to us one way “or we’re going to get it another way. “Now it’s up to you which
way you want to do this.” So I tried to resist
for a second. (chuckles) For a second. Then they grabbed me. They, you know, so I,
put that needle to me. I let ’em have it, you know what I mean? I couldn’t fight ’em. So they took my blood. And to top it off I’m thinking they’re
taking me back to work. We’re going in the
direction back to my job. All of a sudden, the car pulls over. It’s hot. It’s 100-and-some degrees out. They pull over, tell me to get out. I said, “Well, wait a minute, man. “My job another mile or two up the road.” “Make it the best way you can.” That’s what I was told. And they did all my
family members like that. They even got blood from my dad. They went to one of my brother. He was a football coach for little Peewee Warner
Pop league football. They went out there, in
front of all them people to get his DNA like he was
public enemy number one as well. That’s the way we were treated. A lot of people don’t know that. But they were so gung ho
about getting our DNA now when we tell ’em to test DNA they act like they don’t
know what you talking about what you talking about? You know, they won’t do it. – [Uwana] And you lost that job. – Yeah, and I, that goes without saying. By the end, you know, already probably come to that conclusion, I lost that job. You know what I mean? It was, it was, it was, it was and it is it’s a hard thing to be going through. But at the end of the day, (sighs softly) at the end of the day we have faith in God that justice will prevail in this case because it has been working and people been having,
they been coming forward testifying, signing
statements, everything. And everything’s been looking good. But we cannot stop now. We got to keep pushing. We got to see it through. We got to be finishers. And that’s why I encourage everybody to let everybody you
know, on social media your neighbor, your
clergy, your state reps let everybody know about the injustice that’s going on there in Texas not just in Texas because it’s all over. Like I said earlier there are thousands of
Rodney Reeds out there that’s getting treated just like this. They may not be on death row but they’re getting a raw deal. And this is something
that I would not wish on a enemy, you know what I mean? So. – Thank you. So Bryce, let’s talk a little bit about the litigation in the case. You’re in post-conviction litigation. Can you talk about how that’s different for a case that’s a capital case with a person who’s on death row as opposed to terms of years or life without parole type cases? And then also if you
could help us understand how the Texas part factors in. – Yeah, so post-conviction litigation is not like what you normally think of as criminal proceedings. I mean, you basically
have to fight for years to get a day in court. So we we have filed countless
briefs in every, you know both state and federal court to try to get just even the opportunity to put people on the
witness stand, like you saw. So for example, the footage that you saw of Doctor Baden testifying that was back in 2017. And that was a hearing that was held based on evidence that
we submitted in 2015. So it took two years of fighting just to get four days in court. And we had been litigating this case since the last time we were able to actually present some
real evidence was 2006. So the amount of effort
that you have to put in to do what in a car wreck
case you would be able to do just as a matter of course is just, the normal public
just doesn’t have any clue about how these things work. And so as the litigation has gone one of the real problems
in a death penalty case is that you don’t really
have the kind of control over a schedule. Again, if this was a car wreck case or a breach of contract I would call the other’s lawyer and we would come up with sort of a schedule of how this works. And you work together to
try to resolve the dispute. In a death penalty case,
there is no resolution that the state is going to accept other than just a straight
up, you lose and die. And so not only do you not have a for lack of a better word, partner to work with and negotiate with but they have the ability to
actually schedule the time in which they want to kill your client. And so for example, in this case we had filed a petition in 2015 based on a lot of the forensic evidence that proved innocence and the new relationship evidence. And they got a stay of execution 2015. The court sat on that case for two years while we continued to investigate and filed another appeal
based on new evidence. And ultimately what was odd was that the Court of
Criminal Appeals remanded the new claim that came up but then the evidence that frankly was most persuasive they dismissed. And because of that two-year interval in fact the personnel on
the court had changed. So we’re dealing with even
different decision makers. But then we go back to the District Court we have this hearing where
some of that footage came out. Unfortunately you got to look at the judge and his attitude with regard to whether this was an
important matter or not. So he presides over the case. And then, rather than
issuing his own opinion it’s very common in Texas
for judges in his position to essentially ask the state
to write his opinion for him. And that’s what he did. So he received what’s
called proposed findings which have a blank line at the bottom where he just signs his name. And that was the
adjudication that we received in the trial court. Then that gets appealed up to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and they sit on it for
another year and a half another favorable judge
comes off the court in that period of time and ultimately with,
frankly, no notice at all we get this decision in June
of this summer denying relief. And what is somewhat odd from what you would think would happen the opinion itself was only six pages long and had two sentences of actual
legal and factual analysis. And importantly, did not adopt
the lower court’s decision. And so you have four years
of what looks like process but the end result is six pages with no actual decision
other than you lose. And so that’s where we’re at. Within two weeks of that date even though clearly we are going
to go to the Supreme Court there’s federal review the district attorney requests an execution date for November. Obviously that creates
chaos in very many ways. It makes it incredibly
stressful as a advocate. I can’t imagine the kind of impact it has on the family and on Rodney. But as importantly, it
creates a structural advantage for the state because we now do not
have the kind of time to prepare our appeals that
we would ordinarily have. And even in the US Supreme Court it takes four votes to
get a grant of certiorari but it takes five to
get a stay of execution. So they have built in
a structural advantage even in the amount of votes
that we need to get relief. And so the presence of this execution date and the use of these is just another sort of repugnant aspect of the way these cases work. And it’s, I think Texas kind
of leads the way in this. You know, I was doing some
research just last week and there have been 16
execution dates set to date for people in Texas this year and nine of those have resulted in either stays of execution or unilateral withdrawal by the court which means again that
the prosecutors are using these threats of execution,
threats to kill the client as a tool for litigation and not for the proper purpose
of enforcing a judgment. So again, when you look at Texas and when you look at all of
these death penalty cases the ability to set these dates just makes it that much harder and gives the state this
additional unfair advantage in the litigation. – Thanks. Clare, you started to
touch on this a little bit in the last question but can you give us a sense of how your work on Rodney’s case has differed from some of the other cases that you’re working on
in the Innocence Project? – Yeah. It went from zero to 100. Having that date, it’s kind
of what Bryce was saying it’s pushed everything forward. And other cases that I have that were moving at quick
paces when I came in that it looked like we were going to be able to do things on had to take a backseat in some ways. Just having a case with a
client with an execution date it becomes the center of
your world in some ways. That’s impossible not only for the person who’s been told the date
that they might die but awful for the tons of clients who are there, sitting in prison waiting for you to help them. But something about a
case as big as Rodney’s is that something about a
case as bold as Rodney’s where you look at it and
it doesn’t make sense. Just when I came on the case, like you look at it and you’re, like “How is this guy still in jail?” It doesn’t make any sense. Something about a case like that that’s so egregious, you
have so much support and the bench is so deep we have a team of lawyers. It’s not just Bryce and me.
(Bryce chuckles) But we have lawyers at firms
and private counsel in Texas and it helps. And then just the community
at the Innocence Project really has changed around it, too. Students come up to me
and ask me how I’m doing just because they know that
I have a client with a date. And there’s that sense of community and what can I do to help? Making this event tonight. Everyone was interested,
everyone wanted to pitch in. So there’s a sense of urgency. And that’s hard and that’s cruel. And that pushes everything forward and nine to five doesn’t mean anything. But the community that rallies and the amount of
attention that people pay and the due diligence that
people start doing and paying everyone starts to notice that this case doesn’t make any sense and this shouldn’t be one man’s burden there should be a village. So it’s impacted my work in
that my coworkers have become a real support system
for me and a network and to Rodney, though,
he doesn’t know them. They all care and there
is such a deep bench. And it really makes a difference
to the litigation, I think. – Yeah, and I think that
that’s one thing that people that does make these death
penalty cases very different is that they require a much more dynamic approach to the case. It shouldn’t be that way but just doing the appellate
work often is not enough. And that there is a intransigence in the judiciary and in the community just an inertia that you have to get past. So we’ve been able to kind of leverage the legal expertise with
some fantastic lawyers at Skadden Arps and
Mayer Brown in Houston and my old law partner,
Andrew McCray in Austin and just bringing in
people who have expertise in the right places and willing to provide that is what makes a difference. It’s what makes these
cases actually winnable and able to move forward. And we handle the law part of that but in many ways, all of these cases there’s a political aspect to it. And so the organizing work that
Roderick and Uwana are doing and that Sandra has
spearheaded for so many years is in many ways as important. Because we can talk about
constitutional violations and forensic science all we want but to have people who can describe what the community is like and what the impact is on not just Rodney or even the family, but
in the entire community when something like this happens. And just that is not something I can do and it’s not something that
any lawyer can do alone. So it’s the ability to
sort of assemble a team and take this approach because it’s not just one prosecutor that’s working against you. You know, they have the
entire police force. And so there has to be
this dynamic approach when you’re facing these kind of odds. – Roderick and Uwana, I was
wondering if you could tell us a little bit about Bastrop and specifically, it seems very obvious that there are many racist
aspects of this case. Could you talk a little bit about the race relations in Bastrop and what you’ve observed? – Well, I was born in Bastrop. I was born in Bastrop, but like I said I wasn’t raised there. I never really experienced
racism in Bastrop because I was shielded. I was always on a military installation. But every summer we would go home. There was only one time when I was a kid that I can remember a racist incident that would not you know, that you can’t forget. And that’s when, you
know, I was a little kid and guys were picking on me. I was playing at the ballpark and they was trying to take my ball. And I was by myself at the time. I was just playing in the park by myself. And Rodney comes down the street and he sees me crying, you know? And he came to my defense
and he gave ’em a what for “Why you all messing with
my baby brother?” (chuckles) But, you know, moving to today Bastrop, it still has
a lot of racist things but the older community is now dying off or moving out and the younger generation coming in now is not as bad as it was. But the thing is, the corruption
in the justice system now before it’s just race
relation in the streets it’s not that tense, you know what I mean? But it’s in the judicial system is where we getting our
whooping from, you know? For no reason, you know what I mean? All the time we do this work and people come to me and say, “Man “do you know what happened
such-and-such in my case, man? “Well, they gave me 20 years
for,” you know what I mean? Probation for this and this and that. So they down there doing what they want when they want how they want to thinking they don’t have to
adhere to any of the laws. You know, they’re above the law. And that’s not right. And that still exists to this day. It’s just like Brian Gertz. He inherited this problem. He was not the prosecutor,
I mean the D.A.. He did not prosecute that case. Lisa Tanner was the special prosecutor brought out of the A.G.’s office
to prosecute Rodney’s case. But he inherited this situation Brian Gertz did. And so we’re figuring now, well Charles Penny is out of there. Here come Brian Gertz, he’s younger you know, he’s supposed
to be more proactive and this and this and that. So we go to him. And we say, “Look, we
have all this stuff.” You know, we’re trying to
get a meeting with him. And in the beginning, he
was kind of listening to us. But then all of a sudden
it seems like it changed. He don’t want to hear
nothing we’re saying we can’t get any meetings with him. I tried to schedule meetings. We had thousands of petitions
that we brought to him and tried to hand to
him and to the office. And they don’t want no parts of it. So the racial tension in the courtroom and stuff in the judicial
system is really there. It’s out there in the
community, too, as well but it’s not as bad as it used to be when we were kids, let’s put it that way. But it is still tough. – Bryce, how has race factored into some of the legal
claims in Rodney’s case? – I mean, obviously race
pervades essentially as every aspect of our
criminal justice system. And this case just strikes that old trope of you’ve got an African-American man in a relationship with a white woman and that is a very difficult
thing in certain communities for people to accept. You go back to the 30s and 20s that was many of the lynching scenarios were essentially those relationships. And so this strikes that chord. I mean, you see it from
the pretrial investigation where Jimmy Finnell is the
primary suspect for the police even though they know that this is not Jimmy Finnell’s semen in the body. And so obviously it’s not
a sexual assault murder if they’re suspecting Jimmy Finnell. But as soon as Rodney is identified as the source of the sperm the entire investigation changes. And now, where all of
the forensic evidence exonerates Rodney, there are witnesses who have no beef one way or the other who can establish this relationship there is mounting evidence
of a pattern of violence motive of Jimmy Finnell. The only thing that really
allows this conviction to hang together is that residual belief that this relationship couldn’t happen. And that’s really founded, I think on this racial struggle
that we’ve been having in our country for hundreds of years. – Roderick and Uwana,
there’s so much evidence of Rodney’s innocence and yet, as you mentioned,
the D.A. continues to push for his execution. How do you explain that? What do you think this is about? – This is my opinion. This is my honest opinion. I believe when Brian Gertz
ran for district attorney he had help getting, you know raising his campaign
money and everything else whatever he was doing. And I believe that some
of the powers that be and some of the people in
Bastrop that have a lot of money are pulling his coat strings because I can’t understand why anybody would not allow all avenues to be explored when there’s a chance
of taking a man’s life. You know what I mean? And you didn’t put him there and you see witnesses coming forth you see all this evidence of innocence. But you ignore it. Somebody, I believe, in Bastrop or from the governor’s office because it’s pulling it’s pulling his little
puppet string in the back and making them do what
they want ’em to do. ‘Cause otherwise it makes no sense. Why wouldn’t you test the DNA? Why wouldn’t you grant
this man a new trial when your start witness,
the medical examiner already wrote a statement saying “I made a mistake, I was wrong”? That’s all they had on him,
beside three sperm heads. They didn’t had no fingerprints they didn’t have no eyewitnesses they didn’t have, they found DNA but it didn’t belong to Rodney. Beer cans and everything else. Why wouldn’t you? That’s the only thing
that makes sense to me. That’s just my opinion. I don’t know. But if that ain’t it, then
I’d say this man is a coward. And I’ll say that to his face. You know what I mean? Give a man a chance to fight for his life. Give us a chance at a fair trial. That’s all we’ve ever asked for. You know, people come to me and they say “Well, don’t you want to free Rodney?” You know what I mean? Yeah, I’d love to free my brother. But more than that, I want
my brother to be exonerated for these crimes, okay? I want him to have another trial to show the world that he
did not do these things. See what I’m saying? That’s all we want, is a fair trial. You ain’t got to let him go. Just give us a fair trial. Let us call our witnesses, do our testing get a jury of our peers,
and I guarantee you Rodney will be right next to me when that trial’s over
with, walking home with me. I guarantee it. – I also think it’s important
to note from various sources that either run in the
same circles as Brian Gertz or that are close to
Brian Gertz have mentioned that they have been led to believe that there are people who,
like Roderick mentioned who are very influential
and have a lot of money who, like he said, like
basically tying his hands to force him to see this execution date because of stuff about,
like, his corruption. Like, Bastrop County is very corrupt. And Brian Gertz, I’m going to say it is in involved in that corruption. And they know some things that, you know I feel he’s trying to prevent them from coming out with.
– Ah, yeah. – I think that’s important
to mention as well. – That is very important. And I want to say one other thing. Another thing that has me kind of upset is way, like, I was
talking to a news outlet right before I came in here. And they want to do an interview with me and they were doing a
series of, like, roll backs. – KVIEW rewind.
– KVIEW rewind is what it’s called, it’s KVIEW. Anyway, and it was showing
footage from the very beginning of when all of this happened
and making statements you know, claiming my
brother to be a serial rapist and all these other
things, these allegations. And I want to get it clear
to everybody out there that there were and are allegations
of my brother out there but never has he been
arrested, indicted, charged or anything for any of these crimes, okay none of them things. None of them things have been proven. It’s just like, it’s talk, okay? And that I believe they
did that to justify what they’re trying to do to him now to blow smoke so you
wouldn’t see the corruption and the law breaking that they’re doing to get your attention over here while they screwing you over here. That’s what I believe they did in that smear campaign to my brother. And so I want people to know somebody came to me and they talk about “Well, what about the 12-year-old girl?” You know what I mean? I told ’em, I said “Well, I’m going to
let you know something. “In 2016, that so-called 12-year-old girl “was a grown woman. “And she found me. “And she came to my home. “Me and my wife were together. “She came to our home and cried “saying that she was forced to testify “to say that Rodney had did these things “because a member of her
family was in trouble. “And that was the only
way they was going to “get them out of that trouble “by them working with those prosecutors.” She say, “I’m grown now. “It’s been 15, 16 years ago. “Now I can stand up to say the truth.” But she had went through
a whole lot of things since that trial. She’s found herself on
the streets, homeless– – [Uwana] Drug addiction. – Most likely drug
addiction, I would say so. Prostitution. She had a rough life. But yet she came to me
and she felt it necessary for me to know these things ’cause she’s seen how hard I
was fighting for my brother. And she said, “I don’t
want that lie that I told “to come back and haunt me. “I got to let it be known.” And we’ve been trying
to locate her since then to get her to put it on paper to write a affidavit, whatever. And we don’t know, we haven’t found her. And I hope and pray that she’s all right. But those kind of things,
they did to smear. And I tell people all the time, I say now “They have come up with this campaign “to make my brother look like
a capital murderer, okay?” They have lied, they
have withheld evidence. Now what makes you think they
won’t come up with a campaign to make my brother look
like a serial rapist to justify the laws that they’re breaking when they’re trying to murder my brother? It’s common sense. So a lot of people get it twisted. They don’t think about it like that. But they lied in the beginning they been lying the whole time and they’re still lying now to this day. Because none of those charges none of that he’s ever been arrested for indicted, convicted, nothing. So I just want to make
it clear on that record. – Thank you. Bryce, can you talk to us a little bit about the DNA testing? Why is it so difficult to
test something for DNA? What are the arguments
that the state’s making and why are they wrong? – One of the difficult
aspects about, you know basically criminal justice
around the country is how arbitrary it is geographically. If this case was out of Dallas or Houston or Philadelphia or, you know basically most other places than Bastrop they would agree to DNA testing. I mean, why not? So there was DNA testing
initially back in 1998. But the technology that’s available today is exponentially better than
what was available back then. And so we have requested DNA testing and we’ve offered to pay for it. And we were refused. Texas, the legislature of Texas the people of Texas have
actually been very progressive about DNA testing. Texas on paper has one
of the best statutes to get DNA testing in one of these cases. But unfortunately the Texas court has interpreted that statute in a way that makes it virtually worthless. And we’ve had this pattern
three different times where we amend the law to get DNA testing to be available widely because that’s what people want. Nobody wants to have the kind of severity of a criminal justice
system that Texas has without the kind of
certainty that DNA provides. And each time that law changes the Court of Criminal Appeals
takes the teeth out of it. And we actually passed in
the Texas House unanimously a new amendment that would
address this issue this session. But it ran out of time
to get through the Senate and the governor this session. And so there has been some
DNA testing in this case of the vaginal swabs and
physical evidence from the body that shows that Rodney and Stacey had sex some time in the 72 hours
preceding her autopsy or the collection at the crime scene but the actual type of DNA testing that can identify the
murderer has not been done. And so this is a strangulation case where the victim was
strangled with her belt. Back in 1998, you could
not sample that belt and hope to catch skin
cells from the murderer. But today you can. And likewise, the body was dragged. And I’ve worked on a case
where the perpetrator who dragged the victim, we were
able to identify skin cells from the cuffs of the jeans
where she was dragged. And so we can do those things. We proved that we can do those things. But because the law has been
interpreted in such a way the courts have not
allowed that DNA testing. And it becomes at the
whim of the prosecutor. And so if this was 30 miles to the north in Austin, Texas, we would
get that DNA testing. But because this particular
prosecutor doesn’t want it we cannot get it. And so, again, you have this completely arbitrary outcome in a case just by the accident of geography. And so that’s really what’s
happened with DNA testing. And that’s one of the federal actions that we’ve got pending right now is a constitutional claim based on the denial of DNA testing. But the larger picture is really that we already have proof that should meet any
standard of innocence and we’re hoping that the court’s going to at least stay that execution
and allow us to present that. – Thanks. So Clare, as part of the
Innocence Project Clinic you have a seminar class
where you learn criminal law and criminal procedure. How has working on
Rodney’s case helped you put that law into context? – It has completely given it new meaning. In one of our, it might have
been our very first class of the summer, we read the
Texas DNA testing statute. And it looks phenomenal on paper. It looks so logical. And I came into the clinic, not so green but with the idea that a
lot of people share of if you’re so confident in a conviction what’s the harm in testing the DNA? And if someone’s wrongfully convicted shouldn’t they have a
right to test this DNA? And one thing that’s
working on Rodney’s case has put into reality for me is that the black letter law is sometimes not all it looks like that we learn in law school that a principle of law is
that where there’s a wrong there’s supposed to be a remedy. And that’s not always the case. And Texas and Rodney’s case
is a perfect example of that because we have statutes
that are supposed to allow us to bring claims of new evidence to court. There are precedents that say when prosecution withholds evidence that could be exculpatory to your client that means something. There are statutes that say
if there is the potential to exonerate you based on
testing of biological evidence from the crime scene, you
should be entitled to it. But courts in different
parts of the country and it depends on geography, I guess they’ll find ways to give the
language a different meaning. I guess we’re lawyers and we can argue two sides of everything. But when it comes down to it isn’t there that same common sense meaning of what it should be? Isn’t there that same bottom line of if you’re so confident that
you have the right person on death row, what’s the problem? Why does this have to have
such a contorted meaning? So working on Rodney’s case and working on other cases, too but just these innocence
cases really put into context the fact that we have
laws that make it look like we take care of people but they don’t always live up to the hype. – So Roderick and Uwana,
it’s very apparent that Rodney did not get
a fair trial in 1998. In addition to the false testimony he was convicted by an all-white jury. If he were to get a new trial in Bastrop how confident are you that
he could get a fair trial? – You know, if he were to get a new trial with everything that we have and if he gets a jury of his peers. – That’s the thing. – We will win. There’s no doubt. There’s no doubt in my mind. Because we have too much
and they have nothing. They have nothing. They had Robert Bayardo’s
medical examiner report that he gave, and now he’s recanted that. What else do they have? Nothing. They have three sperm’s
head with detached tails and that does not mean murder. They had nothing else. All the other evidence that
was collected at the scenes either belonged to other police officers it belong to everybody else but Rodney. You can’t even put Rodney tied to nothing. The vehicle that she was driving, nothing. Nothing, nothing. – Uwana, when Roderick
said a jury of his peers I saw you react to that. How confident are you that Rodney could get a jury of his peers? – That’s the thing. I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m hoping and I’m praying that he does get a jury of his peers ’cause, you know, when
you asked the question about the racism in Bastrop I disagree with Roderick on that. I feel there’s a lot of
racism that’s still present you know, a lot of the older
people are dying off and stuff but they instill that
within their children who instill that within their children. There are some people, I
mean there are some people who are racist and have come
up to Roderick and said or, like, we go to Karaoke
every now and again and there was a guy who said
that his uncle is racist doesn’t like black people but even he believes
that Rodney is innocent. But there are some people
whose anti-black racism is so deeply ingrained within them they can’t see past the fact
that someone like Stacey would be–
– With him. – With someone like, you know with a black man, with Rodney. So I don’t know. – And, you know see, Uwana is pretty new to that community and she sees what she sees and she’s, that’s her opinion of it. But I’ve been in that community
off and on for 50 years. So I see the difference. You know, I see the progress. Like I said, racism’s still there. I ain’t saying it wasn’t. But it’s not as bad as it used to be is all I’m saying. But one thing and two
things I know for sure Rodney case has got so much exposure it’s going to be hard to find anybody that will be, you know,
to pick for a jury. – Unbiased?
– Yeah, exactly. But if we were able to do that it will be no doubt in
my mind, like I say that he would be
exonerated of these crimes you know what I mean? Even like on the Doctor Phil show which that was amazing to me is when at the end of the show there was 250 people in the audience. They had a little button up under everybody’s seat. He said, “We’re going to take a poll now “and one if you think he’s guilty “two if you think he’s not.” Either way, it wouldn’t, but anyway. And 249 people in that audience said they don’t believe Rodney
is guilty of that crime. That’s amazing. And then somebody said something “Well, who’s the one person?” (Kathryn and audience chuckle) And that was Jimmy Finnell’s lawyer. (Kathryn and audience laugh) And of course they paid him
to go up there and speak. So he got the, he got to press that one he’s guilty, you know what I mean? He was all by himself in that. But hey I believe that same thing
will happen in the court just like it did on the Doctor Phil show. Give us a chance to present that. Give us a chance to raise
justice out the street and put it back in that
courtroom, and we’ll win. And we’ll win, I have no doubt. – Bryce, can you tell us
about the Innocence Project’s pending litigation on Rodney’s behalf? – Sure. We have two matters that
are currently pending. One I think I described which is a federal civil rights action. When a state denies you DNA testing in a manner that violates due process you can go to court under 1983 and seek relief through that process. So that’s pending. We have a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court which is pending as well. And that encompasses
sort of broader claims of innocence and state misconduct. And we will be seeking relief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals which is a federal appellate court which is the next avenue
for post-conviction relief. But it’s a very difficult barrier there because what you have
to prove, which we can but is not only is there
newly discovered evidence of a constitutional violation so something you could
not have found before but you also have to prove that by clear and convincing evidence affirmatively that you are innocent. So the burden of proof is
actually flipped around and it’s set very high. And so that is the next
avenue of federal review. And we’re continuing to
develop new evidence. We’ve actually found two witnesses who’ve come forward just
in the last few weeks one being a retired Lee County sheriff which is the sheriff’s officer which is the county where they lived who attended the funeral
and witnessed Jimmy Finnell make a statement to Stacey’s body “You got what you deserved.” And also an insurance
salesperson who reached out to us and was able to show us
corroborating records that she, in fact, sold Jimmy and Stacey a life insurance policy. And in the course of that conversation Stacey says, “Well, I’m so young. “I don’t really need life insurance” and Jimmy says, “No, if
you ever mess around on me “I’ll kill you and no
one will know it was me.” And these things, when taken in isolation you kind of wonder, well,
why is this coming out now? Or yeah, this seems odd. But when you actually look back and see all of the statements that
Finnell has made over the years and his basically utter lack of just sort of perspective
that what he’s doing is wrong in many of the reported
incidents that we’ve read of his misconduct as a police
officer, it makes sense. And what you heard from Alicia Slater is that when you’re in this kind
of litigation as a lawyer you’re wondering, “Well, why
did this person wait so long? “Didn’t they know?” But they’re normal people. You know, they go home and they don’t think about
habeas corpus every day. And so when you get this kind of publicity from an execution date or things like the Doctor Phil show people hear about it and
that sparks their memory. And then they realize, “Wait. “I do know something. “It is important.” And again, when courts look at it they’re not looking at
it from that perspective which they should. And so those new statements
are going to be the basis of a new appeal that we’re working on. And so really there’s going to be a number of different pieces of litigation going on in the next month. This is yet another example
of the kind of chaos that these dates create because we’re going to be doing literally three years’ worth of litigation in the course of about a month and a half. And that’s not good for anybody. – Clare, I think I know the
answer to this question. But what would you most
like to see for Rodney? – I want him to be free. Without expanding too much one highlight of working
at the Innocence Project as a clinic student is the opportunity to get to talk to your
clients who are incarcerated and who you get to know in
own lifeline in some senses and a friend in others. When we’re not talking
about strategy or the case Rodney and his legal team we have these really great chats. And he’s so personable. And he likes to talk about his life before he went to prison. And he talks about how he misses being able to go for runs
at night in that cooler air. And if you saw Doctor
Phil, he talked about how he doesn’t see the moon
out his window anymore. And Rodney is kept in
isolation most of the day. He can’t talk to you except
through a pane of glass if you go to visit him. And there’s something so
isolating and dehumanizing about the death row experience that the human spirit is
almost not meant to endure. And so I want Rodney to be
free to embrace his family and to be with his children
and his grandchildren and to be the family man he is and to run under the stars and to be free of the stigma
of this wrongful conviction. – Yeah.
– Thank you. – That’s something my mother says. You know, the hardest part is that she hasn’t been able to touch her child all those years. No physical contact, nothing like that like some of these prisons. You know, it’s hard. – So I think we’re all wondering what can we do to help? One thing that you can do is to go to innocenceproject.org. There is a petition about Rodney’s case that you can sign and circulate. You should also share this story share it with your friends
and your loved ones share it on social media. We have #RodneyReed and
Innocence iterations that you can tag to try to get the word
out as much as possible. And Roderick and Uwana,
are there any events coming up in Texas specifically? – Yes, so we’re headed back
to the central Texas area. On October 19th, there’s
the 20th annual march to abolish the death penalty. And that is something that
either Roderick or Sandra has participated every year since I forget what year it–
– Been a lot of years. – Probably since the beginning or, like, a few years
after it first started. So we’re going to go do that. We’re also planning some actions outside of Brian Gertz’s office because we don’t want
to let him off the hook. We do want to still pursue that avenue. There’s also a petition that
is targeting Brian Gertz. Our friend Abe Bonowitz
and also Griffin Hardey they collaborated to create that one. It’s Death Penalty Action
who is doing that one. And I think it’s like
under the Action Network. But yeah, that’s one that
we’re also pushing out there. Then also November 9th, we have a rally that’s going to be happening outside of the governor’s mansion. And I think we’re also going
to march to the capitol. But if you go on Facebook, it’s
on our Facebook events page. Our Facebook is
facebook.com/reedjusticeinitiative. You know, we’re hoping by November 9th that the execution date will be dropped. If not, that will be the
main messaging for that. But if they do end up
dropping his execution date by that time, we want him free. 22 and a half years is a long time. It’s time for him to be free. So that’s going to be the message. That’s what we’re praying
will be the message for that November 9th rally
at the governor’s mansion. – And after that, we also planning to go to New Orleans to
the Fifth Circuit Court. If we don’t get that stay and stuff we’re planning to go down there and see if we can’t get there and make them do something. And then we’ll go to Atlanta from there. We’re not going to stop. We’re not going to stop. We’re not going to stop
til Rodney gets free. Bottom line. As long as there’s life in my body and my family, we’re not going to stop. Just put it that way. – Do we have time for some questions? – Yeah.
– Okay, great. Okay, so we have a few questions from social media and from the audience. The first question is and I think this is probably for Bryce what is the date of execution? And at this point, who or what is capable of exonerating Rodney? Who has the say? – So the execution date is set
currently for November 20th. Basically the folks who
can stay that execution are the various state and federal courts that we’ll be petitioning. The Texas governor has a ability to grant what’s called a reprieve. So that’s an ability. The Board of Pardons and Paroles in Texas there’s sort of a two-step process by which the governor’s
ability to grant clemency is limited by recommendations. There must be a
recommendation by this board. And so they have the ability
to make recommendations which the governor can then adopt. Obviously the United States Supreme Court which we’re in front of right now. And the Bastrop County district attorney because ultimately that is the prosecutor who has discretion in the case. That’s the prosecutor who’s set the date and could certainly
withdraw that date as well. – Okay, and for Roderick and Uwana how’s Rodney doing and what
support can we provide him? – Well, my brother, he’s doing good. He wrote a letter that
I read a few days ago. He says he’s looking at this date and it’s real and he’s scared. But he wants everybody to act. He wants everybody to show some type of action, get involved. – Don’t just feel bad and comment and say “Oh, you know, I’m praying for you,” ’cause prayer without action is dead. – Exactly.
– He wants you all people, to pray but to also
write letters to the governor write letters to Texas
Attorney General Ken Paxton write, you know, do something other than just sitting and praying. Which is powerful, but acting and praying is even more powerful.
– Yeah. – Okay, and I think also for Bryce is there any other evidence such as a picture, a
phone call history, emails or text messages that
could prove a relationship between Stacey and Rodney? – Well, you know, being a
man of the 20th century (Bryce and audience chuckle) we don’t really have the
kind of digital surveillance that we have today. And so I mean, the
tools that we have today are really incredible. I mean, you can tell where people were. Somebody went to a party. You’ve got 15 people that might have taken a picture of that. But when you’ve got a case from 1996 unfortunately we don’t have
that kind of surveillance. You know, we’ve been trying to get even security footage
from the grocery store we can’t get ahold of. And in part because a
lot of the investigation was botched, we don’t have things like Jimmy Finnell’s phone records even. So we don’t have those kind of tools. Nobody was emailing back then. And so it’s really just time consuming on-the-ground investigation and hoping that people with knowledge will hear about this and come forward. So it’s not the kind of digital sleuthing that we can do today. It’s really old school investigative work that we’ve got to work with. – This is a question from Facebook. Where can we get a Rodney Reed t-shirt? – Well, me and my wife,
we make these t-shirts. Every t-shirt I’ve been wearing especially since they set that date I’ve had a Rodney Reed t-shirt I wear a Rodney Reed t-shirt
everywhere I go, every day. We make them. But right now we’ve been on the road for the last couple weeks. So we’re not in production. But when we get back home,
breathe a little bit hopefully God will show
us favor in Rodney’s case you know what I mean? And then we’re going to get back to them. So right now we’re not we’re not in production
of those shirts right now. We’re not making ’em. – And this is from the Rodney
Reed Is Innocent Group. Why hasn’t the Reed family
chosen to sue in civil court? – Well, you got to pick your battles. And you got to focus your energy on what you think is most important. I think right now saving his life and what we’re trying to do you know, maybe suing in their
eyes may help, but whatever. But right now, we doing
all that we know to do. And that’s just it. And that’s a good question. I’ve never thought about
it like that, you know. But we doing all that we know to do. – And just as a legal matter there really aren’t many
options to sue in civil court in a criminal case until that case has been resolved. – [Roderick] Yeah. – And so if you do sue in civil court in a manner that’s
challenging a conviction the federal courts and the Texas courts generally will reject those suits because they should be
more appropriately brought in the criminal context. We have brought a civil
rights action for DNA testing and that is a civil matter. And other civil matters have
been brought in the case one challenging the manner in
which the execution was set. But largely the way that
these cases need to proceed is unfortunately through
the criminal proceedings. – Thank you. I want to thank especially the Reed family for coming all the way up to New York to advocate for Rodney but also our other
panelists, Clare and Bryce. Want to thank all of you
all in our audience today and those following us online. And I also want to thank
all of the organizations that sponsored this event. So we are 35 days away from Rodney Reed’s
scheduled execution date. In the meantime, we need all of your help. We need you to spread the word we need you to share
this information online and we need you to sign the petition on behalf of Mr. Reed. Thank you very much. (audience applauds)
– And free Rodney Reed. – Free Rodney Reed! – Free Rodney Reed! – Free Rodney Reed! (audience applauds) – [Roderick] Free Rodney Reed.

100 Responses

  1. James Davis says:

    Hope this rapist frys.

  2. Love Potion #9 says:

    I said it before and I will say it again, if they execute this man, the whole damm US economy must be shut down. We cannot support a country that is systematically killing us.

  3. JoMari Hernandez says:

    You guys are amazing people. I'm in awe. All the hard work and endless hours of dedication for the truth. …..you guys are truly God sent people, thank you for all your hard work. This truly is an injustice if they murder Rodney.

  4. NolaBaby83 says:

    Ignorant ass white folk's want to pretend this is not about black & white… GTFOH! Stupid Fuckers!

  5. Lorrie Rushing says:

    I used to live in Bastrop, Texas. He’s not a killer. I knew the cops and they all stuck together. I knew Hernandez and Ed. Fennel would have killed Stacey for having an affair with anyone. Rodney Reed didn’t kill anyone.

  6. Lydia Erin M/D says:

    Can't #president #trump file a stay of execution?!?!?!!!

  7. Paul De Marsh says:

    I think Rodney Reed is innocent and I pray that he be freed. I have signed a petition on change.org.

  8. Francesca Gibbons says:

    Texas do the right thing

  9. Gee Johnson says:

    Do any 1 remember da Gary gram case

  10. bsmi1361 says:

    What about the other victims that his DNA linked him to?

  11. Erik S says:

    Reed raped at least 6 women. So the issue is that we have two rapists that each could have murdered Stites. And both of the rapists (Fennell or Reed) also f*cked her in daily life. So who do we need to believe? Who is the murderer? I just dont know it.
    A stay of execution makes sense anyway because what Governor would take the risk of making 1.4 million of his voters angry? Voters that signed for requesting the stay. And with dr. Phil in the picture, any governor would be stupid to get Reed killed.
    A new trial would be a next sensible step. And with all this new evidence, it makes more sense they prosecute Fennell for the murder instead of Reed,

  12. Steven Rears says:

    Where’s al sharpton? Does anybody know who you can call and hound them to stop this from happening on the 20th?!!

  13. Owl Poodle says:

    Guilty as charged.

  14. Ian Scowby says:

    The death penalty shouldn't even be a thing, who gives the right to the state to kill someone too. makes no sense. if this execution goes a head I will no longer have any trust in any government system the only reason why Rodney Reed was convicted because the prosecuter told a better convincing story. Sad! free Rodney reed

  15. Chris Kavanagh says:

    How about "Justice" for all the women he's raped, including the one he murdered and is currently on death row for. You remember the one, where all the evidence including the DNA pointed directly at him.

  16. Janene Brooks says:

    He was convicted by a jury that had all the facts back then.  Those facts have not changed.  This man raped several women and brutally beat and raped a 12 year old girl and you want him freed?  SMH

  17. Freemason Michi says:

    No blacks helping blacks.These white folks standing up for him.But we going to the next concert tho

  18. Gabriel Rave says:

    free him

  19. spicychef7 says:

    That's sad how their church didn't support them. That's not very Christian.

  20. Frederick Norwood says:


  21. spicychef7 says:

    I watched the whole documentary and I'm glad they did it like this because it's free from propaganda and rhetoric you would normally find watching the news or reading online articles from second- and third-hand sources. This is straight from his lawyer's mouth and from his family's mouths. Focusing on the present case itself and laying out all the facts on the table, you can infer that this man had nothing to do with the unfortunate death of this woman. He served over 20 years for something he didn't do, time that should have been done by the man who did the crime. It's also obvious that it took a lot of people to cover up this truth. I don't understand how anyone would want an officer who clearly broke the law to still represent the law. What kind of message does that say to everyone else? What about how that reflects on other officers who do respect the law and do the right thing? When people want to hate on the police, they don't differentiate who they hate. They hate anybody in that uniform which has the potential to cause more chaos and violence. It makes it hard for the officers who do a good job to be SAFE doing a good job. No one is above the law. Especially a guilty cop hiding behind his network of conspirators. Finnell needs to turn himself in and confess to what he did.

  22. Danger Zone says:

    He is very boring

  23. Alicia Pinard says:

    That's how evil the system is. The cops new the man was innocent from the start, But they prefered to destroy a man's life to save there sick and evil friend.

    They are still doing it today.
    But GOD eyes never sleeps.
    This world is just sick.

  24. mothergoose10ify says:

    TEXAS does not give a bleep about truth I repeat Texas does not care about truth ever they won't ever

  25. ZBop says:

    Justice for Rodney Reed! Texas must not execute Rodney Reed!

  26. James Hoffman says:

    The Innocence Project is tarnishing it’s reputation by defending this child rapist and murderer, by ignoring the overwhelming case against him.

  27. Dan 123 says:

    White liberals and black racists, united for the defense of black murderers and rapists.

  28. stickypalmping says:

    Just the fact that it was an all white jury lets me know he didn't get a fair trial. Also the mis-handling of the murder weapon leads me to believe this man was framed. Free this man and arrest and try the fiance.

  29. Origins686720 says:

    Innocent black men have been executed for Centuries, till this day nothing to stop it. What's the point of all this, the mans going to die anyway. Americas is non-progressive for a reason, and this reason is well known. You cant expect desendants of Criminal class land thieves to change their ways, this is systematic Genocide that never ever ended. HARSH COLD TRUTH.

  30. Origins686720 says:

    The fact hes was allowed to grow old is testament and insult to Humanity, not to mention all the evidence against this Criminal Justice representation is further insult and mocking this mans Plight. Americas is hell on Earth.

  31. Oreocremerocks says:

    I have heard many times you get so many letters it's impossible to read them all daily. I would volunteer my abundant extra time to help. Just send a reply.

  32. scracer24c says:

    Those of you that are saying this man is innocent, are absolutely despicable! THE MANS DNA HAS BEEN LINKED TO MANY OTHER RAPES!!!! 1 Being a 12yr old girl!!! There is NO WAY That Damn many tests can be wrong people, NO WAY! Now, Are you willing to be the person that looks the 12yr old girl in the face, and tell her he did nothing, and should be set free?!?! If so, You are just as big of a POS as he is! Science doesn’t lie….

  33. scracer24c says:

    Those of you saying he was innocent, Would you still be saying that if the 12yr old girl he raped was your daughter???? THE ONE THAT HIS DNA MATCHED??? OR HOW ABOUT THE OTHER NUMEROUS RAPES THAT HIS DNA MATCHED???? Come on people, You are believing some whack jobs opinion about how long Stacey was dead, BUT IGNORING THE FACT THAT HIS DNA, WHICH IS SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN, NOT AN OPINION, PROOF THAT HE RAPED NUMEROUS OTHERS… COME ON PEOPLE GTFOH WITH THAT BULLSHIT!!!! YOU KNOW DAMN WELL HE IS GUILTY AND IS A SEXUAL PREDATOR…. PERIOD!!!!!

  34. ron long says:

    justice will take place strap him down

  35. Em Emay says:

    Burn in hell Rodney. Wet saliva DNA evidence on Stacies chest that matched him. So you’re telling me she had consensual sex with him two weeks before her wedding and didnt shower afterwords, or for the next two days and then was raped and murdered by her fiance? Or the more likely, that wet saliva DNA evidence linked to Rodney on Stacies chest, was right before her murder?


  36. ShawnJames310 says:

    The cop doesnt want a interview he denied the interview= hes guilty watch how the prosectutor protects the cop. Even after pleading guilty to telling that girl he was going to murder her. Why they wont let the cousin talk? She must know something about the secret affair…. Rodoney gladly gave the interview. I still dont see a interview for the fennell yet if you let a Black dude bust a nut in you while you are engaged its enough to muder her. His buddy said he would murder her with a belt. If she cheated she cheated and got kill with what ? A belt she got murdered with a belt thats no coincidence….give the interview Jimmy …show how guilty you are…..

  37. ShawnJames310 says:

    mind you fennell still no interview what are you hiding fennell??? No interview. Denied interview Rodney gave the interview willingly =I have nothing to hide

  38. ShawnJames310 says:

    attorney general said many people touched the belt- she is protecting the cop period. Fennel no inetrview WHAT ARE YOU HIDING FENNELL.?

  39. IMaryann Yarbrough says:

    Anyone who truly want to know what really going on please read Gen 15:13,14, Deut 28:15-68 & Lev 26.

  40. Novascotia Skater says:

    I’ve seen so many nasty comments about Texas in the last few days. That Texas is a racist state and kills people for money, and kills innocent black people. Texas is one of the most diverse state’s in the country, Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the WORLD, Texas is 39% Hispanic and only 45% Caucasian ….Texas is no where on the list of most racist states ….go ahead and Google it…..Most Racist States…..Texas is not on the list…….Texas definitely executes the most people that’s true….and unfortunately stats do show they are proportionately highly black but that is actually the case for ALL Prisons. the conviction rate of African Americans is higher in every State…not just Texas. Given that I believe the DP is wrong anyway I think no one should be executed unless they ask to be…..but let’s stop making comments about Texas that are actually as stupid as assuming Rodney Reed is guilty…..

  41. Native Chique says:

    Can somebody explain to me why some of these commenters are coming outta nowhere claiming hes a serial rapist and showing some documents of other cases?

  42. Omar Jad Al Farid says:

    Having consensual sex with a Police Officer's fiancee is not a good idea regardless of your race. This doesn't justify murder. But it is something to consider. You will be shocked and amazed at the trouble waiting for those who get involved with these sluts. This guy must have a huge penis because he's ugly as hell. She was 19 and hadn't before experienced anything like it! Look the Police Officer warned him to stay away from his fiancee yet they are still sneaking around together. Some people think the danger and taboo make it more exciting. The slut paid with her life and some feel Reed should pay also…

  43. Denise Day says:

    I am so glad that you are here representing Rodney!! My brother Antoine Day is an exonoree who has previously worked with Jason Flom, my brother works with the Innocence Project and formed his own band called the Exonorees!! Antoine Day served 11 years in prison and was framed by the system, judges, prosecutors! It's a blessing that we have people like you to help those who are innocent!!

  44. Denise Day says:

    The fact that there was mucus that was found in the truck proves Jimmy Fennell killed this young lady!!

  45. Daughter of Zion says:

    WE DID IT!!!

    Within the hour after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles officially recommended that Governor Greg Abbott stop the execution of Rodney Reed for a 120 day reprieve…this happened:

    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered a stay of execution for Rodney Reed. Reed's "Brady, false testimony, and actual innocence claims" will be considered by the trial court in his case before any further action is taken.

    That means Rodney is still in jail, and there will still be a trial. But for now, Rodney Reed will live.

    THANK YOU. This never would've happened without massive numbers of people like you making phone calls, organizing rallies and vigils, and raising our voices together.

    We're so proud of what we've achieved together, and our Action PAC team hustled hard: Watching this today…got this email last night. God's in charge. Faith without works is dead. Now Clemency Gov. Gregory Abbott.

  46. Jackie Jackson says:


  47. Jackie Frazier says:

    This whole thing is making my blood boil… taking your blood illegally? Who the hell do ppl think they are? Free Rodney!!!!!

  48. Crack Job says:

    Are the same people that believe in the system going to question his stay ?

  49. Steel Pipe says:

    Free Rodney Reed….

  50. google sucksalot says:

    There's a stupid question from a white girl , how does that make you feel ? Really the ignorance from white folks is amazing and I am a white man .

  51. google sucksalot says:

    And she is on his side , dumbfounding

  52. Thirsty Bedbuck says:

    Throughout history white guys have always beev crazy jealous of of black men getting with their vanilla cream pies. We've been lynched, burned, beaten beyond recognition, tortured, and even dismemembered for even the thought of making the slightest advances to the vanilla cakes and white girls have died and suffered as well. White guys YOU MIGHT AS WELL JUST STFU, SIT THE FUCK DOWN SOMEWHERE cause it's never going to stop. EVER! White women are going to keep doing it as well as us black men so stop trying to control everybody you can't and never will be able to imprison white women. Deep down everybody knows even if Reed did do the killing Fennell or whatever his name is definately had something to do with her death.

    Stacy's finacee should be sitting in a cell right next to Reed.

    1. Guy has a record of assaulting women

    2. Failed lie detector

    Don't forget to go to MadBusDriverX channel and subscribe!


  53. Ellie Borak says:

    I don’t know how you people sleep at night.

  54. Scott Bishop says:

    None of us want racism shoved down our throats any further. A girl is dead and Reed was convicted by 12 jurors for the crime of capital murder in Texas.

  55. Sven S. says:

    Why they have forget to mention that Reed was a multiple rapist?

  56. Trident says:

    Hiw many RAPES is this guy accused of?

  57. Debra Charles says:

    He was accused of other rapes?

  58. Phylicia Jones says:

    Almighty God of the Universe open the Gates Of Freedom for Rodney Reed and all others who are not Guilty! This Unjustice treatment needs to End in Name of Jesus I plead the Blood of Jesus on this Devil May you go to the Pitts of Hell All evil Doers!

  59. Matt says:

    No they will give justice to the family that he destroyed.

  60. Iseewhat Youdid says:

    Bullshit. His DNA was in the ass and vag of a 12 year old! He is a pedo rapist! This didn't go to trial, because he was already convicted for Stacey. This is one of sexual and assault cases he committed.

  61. teresa wicks says:


  62. jo douglas says:

    I get that they may have wanted to stop that execution based on negligence between police and prosecution, but start the chatting and ranting claiming this man is innocent. They have gone to great lengths to make sure it was very difficult for us to be able to search out his other crimes. There are others on death row who are really deserving a second chance and a new trial. This mans DNA was found on a 12 year old girl who was beaten and raped. For those celebs to come to the front line to fight and protest for a man like Reed is just sick and wrong. None of those celebs will ever have my respect.

  63. Buzzle 1000 says:

    Reed has been proven to have raped a 12 year old girl. His seman was found inside her. He only hasn't been convicted for this because he's on death row. Why is everyone so desperately defending a child rapist?

  64. Lorena Q.Rodriguez says:


  65. mePanther youDonk says:


  66. theresa dirocco says:

    Stacy Stites murder was too personal for Rodney Reed to be guilty of , I believe jimmy is guilty because he staged it all from the time, the murder of Stacy and the evidence and cutting her nails and leaving beer cans and her wedding dress by her.

  67. -Glass Caskets- says:

    Baden is coming to conclusions based on photos and the case files. He wasn’t there or do the autopsy. He’s basically a hired gun for the defense team here. He gets paid for this shit too so does that mean he’s been paid off as well?
    I 100% do NOT believe her friend either. The defense probably has reached out to her and now she’s all excited to be in the news as part of the story. Bullshit.

  68. D Goldstein says:

    Did Bryce, his attorney ever mention how NOT ONE of the witnesses who came forward when Reed was on trial were actually credible enough to take the stand!! No, because his lawyers and the media never ever ever present that fact. FACTS!!!

  69. hednersgame911 says:

    I've read the case files. His DNA was found inside a 12 year old girl. Explain that. His spit was found on Stites' chest which was matched to his DNA. Explain how someones spit stays on your chest for two days even though you've showered. He raped a handicapped woman. That is how his DNA was matched to Stites. The woman's case worker noticed her "walking oddly" and asked her what had happened. She reported that Reed beat her and raped her and his DNA was found inside her as well. This case, and the 12 year old girl case, are both pending because Reed was already being prosecuted for the CAPITAL MURDER of Stacy Stites. But yea… he's innocent…. Shame on all the tools trying to set this monster free.

  70. a d says:

    he's guilty, burn in hell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFZk2tJsFiI

  71. Aaron McGill says:

    Make sure you include his dna found in his other two alleged rape victims as well as his saliva found on the murdered woman. Which had no way of remaining on the victim unless he kissed on her that night if the murder which he says he didnt. Because he is a liar, a rapest and a murderer . Get all of the evidence before you release this rapist/ murderer

  72. Aaron McGill says:

    The only reason they know about rodney reed is because they match his dna for two other of his rape victims. He must he the unluckiest man ever or he is guilty as fuck

  73. Flexible Dreamer says:

    I’m concerned this man is potentially a sexual deviant. The alleged past incidents are very troubling. If he is given clemency or found not guilty in anew trial — he may find himself being bought up on new charges. If he raped a 12 year old girl, he deserves to die.

  74. Alexis Snazz says:

    just some things you should know before defending rodney
    Reed claimed to not know Stacy, then his story changed and he said he was in a secret relationship with her when the DNA proof came out. He used this same story in 1987 when he was on trial for raping a high school class mate. He claimed she staged the break in and that it was consensual. He was cleared. Reed also raped a 12 year old months before this incident. There are also maybe 3 others that have been raped by reed.

    Now, I don’t know if he killed this girl. He should not be killed because it’s not 100% clear what happened. But just thought I would share that this is not some saint sitting in prison. It’s very possible he did it

  75. Cudaman2 Formula says:

    Rodney Reed wet saliva was found on her chest. Rodney Reed attacked another woman in her car but she got away.this is not a cut n dry case! Rodney has raped a 12 year old.

  76. Mendes Edgar says:

    Stay away from becky. They knew he`s innocent beyond reasonably doubt.

  77. From the Futon says:

    "Justice for Rodney Reed" = a public hanging.

  78. Heather Nikki says:

    HE IS GUILTY!!!!!!

  79. Marc Tradler says:

    He´s as innocent as Michael Brown…meaning not at all.

  80. kuroashi Sanji says:

    This nigga is guilty , DNA doesn’t lie

  81. brandonja77 says:

    Hey rodrick how about Rodney's victimes? What about their suffering? You and your family have done nothing but spread lies about everybody who is accused rodney of rape or being carjacked and now murder. What about their feelings? U all fell off the same shit tree

  82. ChereraTaguato says:

    2 hrs in and haven't heard anything beyond there is so much evidence to clear him…Not sure when they will decide to go and mention what it is…and if they can clear him of this one, what about the numerous other rape and violent crimes committed by this man…can they clear those too?

  83. Jacqueline Soat says:

    I do not have boots this tall….

  84. Chad Gautier says:

    He is guilty. His semen found in a 12 year old. Oh dont forget the saliva on the dead womans chest that was still wet

  85. Stephen Kane says:

    A cursory look through the pertinent facts convinced me of Rodneys guilt of this murder. Im also against the death penalty.

  86. Au Contraire says:

    What about the Saliva on her chest?

  87. Sewer Tapes says:

    Why was his saliva on her dead body?

  88. FUCK TheYoungTurks says:

    Wrrrrronnngggg he's guilty

  89. shakur 4illa says:

    Three little sperms is enough. Guilty as hell!

  90. matt Kazz says:

    That's all fine and well but what about the semen that was found in the 12 year olds anus did they tell her to put it there too?

  91. Larry Chandler says:

    He is not an innocent man. He raped and killed a woman. He is a known liar, rapist, and murderer.

  92. Nice pants says:

    What about the saliva on her chest and his semen found inside of her body? What about the fact that Rodney Reed had been accused of sexual assault 7 times prior?

  93. Jason Brand says:

    💪🇨🇱"Rock On"!

  94. Good Fella says:

    He's clearly guilty. If he wasn't black you would have never heard of that pos

  95. God Fire Inferno says:

    you people are sick tying to free this monster. it wont happen he will just be convicted of the 9 rapes he committed and when other prisoners hear he raped a 12 year old he will be shived in the shower, prisoners dont take kindly to child rapists.

  96. Christ Harris says:

    Absolute crap. Rodney Reed is a serial rapist and murderer. These Clinton supporters have forgotten this – https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/17/17-1093/45899/20180507150103836_Reed%20BIO%20FINAL.pdf Rodney is a serial rapist and psycho. Read how this innocent man raped a 12 year old girl and many other woman. I can not even imagine how he could have been in a relationship with the woman whom he murder oh yeah it is his word against her word oops she is dead.

  97. Harry Assenback says:

    He’s guilty as hell!

  98. Georgean Gordineer says:

    Um um um

  99. Buk Lau says:

    Look at that putz lawyer. Fucking sheister

  100. Buk Lau says:

    Rodney claimed, in his jail interview, that he didn’t find out about staceys death till 4-5 days after her death. How’s that!? His whole family now claims they knew her, so did they not hear about her death either ?To let rodney know…”hey your girlfriend was murdered”? He conveniently consensually fucked her the night before she was killed, to justify his semen being spewed all over and in her.

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