Judge Denies Death Row Inmate Rodney Reed a New Trial

Rodney Reed is a Black man who has continued to claim his innocence of murdering a young white grocery store clerk. Now District Judge J.D. Langley denied Reed a new trial, sending his fate back into the hands of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Rodney Reed is set to face execution

The court is expected to deny his bid, but it could go against the judge’s decision. Langley-based his decision on Reed not providing convincing evidence that no juror would have convicted him of capital murder.

Rodney Reed’s case was championed by a handful of celebrities, including Oprah, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Texas lawmakers. Just days before his scheduled execution, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended that Gov. Greg Abbott grant Reed a reprieve.

That recommendation comes as new forensic evidence and witnesses have come forward in the years since his conviction, which has raised doubts in the prosecution’s case. The Court of Criminal Appeals halted the execution.

New witnesses are questioning Reed’s conviction

Rodney Reed was convicted by an all-white jury. The prosecution claims that Reed met Stites on the road as she was headed to work. She stopped for him, and that is when they say he raped and strangled her. After questioning by police, Reed says they met at a game room where they played pool. Reed did allege they had a “clandestine” sexual relationship.

Reed’s defense team has pointed to the new witnesses and the forensic evidence that has been analyzed again. Some have cast doubt on Reed’s conviction and instead are starting to implicate the victim’s fiance. Reed and his family continue to maintain his innocence.