By Mary Adcock
November 18, 2019
Rodney Reed has been on death row in Texas since 1998. He was scheduled to be executed by injection in November, but Texas courts paused this amid calls from celebrities like Beyonce, Kim Kardashian (who was with him when the announcement was made) and Oprah Winfrey, along with members of Congress of both parties. This comes in light of new evidence that suggests Reed did not commit the crime he was convicted of. Reed was convicted of murdering and raping Stacey Stites in 1998. Reed has maintained that him and Stites were having an affair, and that’s why his DNA was found on her body. Additionally, three forensics experts who testified at his initial hearings have now admitted to flaws in the evidence.
Another suspect of the crimes was Stites’ boyfriend that she lived with, Jimmy Fennell. Fennell was a former police officer, who had served time for sexually assaulting a woman while on duty. His fingerprints were found on the vehicle at the scene of the crime, but Reed’s were not. The murder weapon, Stites’ belt, was also never tested for DNA, a decision upheld by the courts.
It is especially rare that Reed’s case is being reconsidered since Texas executes more people than any other state. This case has brought hope to those who oppose the death penalty, like the Innocence Project, who uses DNA testing to exonerate the wrongly convicted. The United States remains one of the few countries left that still allows the death penalty. According to Amnesty International, 106 countries have outlawed the death penalty. The issue of innocence is also important when 1 in 25 of death row cases in the United States have been exonerated after their death.
The capitalist-imperialist death machine will continue to play havoc with the lives of colonized and poor people until the dictatorship of the proletariat is instituted and the masses control the apparatus of state and suppress the class that summons us to death in the millions. Revolutionary and progressive activists and legal workers must be organized on an anti-capitalist basis to win freedom for those like Rodney Reed who are political prisoners under the fascist Amerikan regime.
Photo: Ricardo Brazziell, Associated Press