Family of Death Row prisoner Rodney Reed beg for his freedom

 With less than two weeks until the scheduled execution of prisoner Rodney Reed, people from all over the nation are joining together to fight for his freedom.

Saturday afternoon Reed's family made another plea to Gov. Greg Abbott to stay the execution.

"It's took'en 18 years, but we haven't slacked up one bit. We're here till the end," said Rodrick Reed, Rodney's brother.

The Reed family said it's time for Rodney to come home.

"My heart breaks every day. Every morning I wake up and I know where he's at and I can't be there to hug him, to hold him, to tell him I love him, you know what I mean. My heart breaks every day. Until he gets home, my heart will break every day," said Rodrick.  

In 1996 Bastrop teen Stacey Stites' body was found by the side of the road.  Evidence showed Stites was raped and killed by strangulation. Two years later, Rodney was sentenced to death for the crime, but his legal team said new evidence shows the jury got it wrong.

Now, less than two weeks from Rodney's scheduled execution, his family and supporters are making one final push to get the case reopened.

"I feel that justice will prevail in the end. I don't think that they'll be able to execute my brother based on all the new evidence that has come up," said Rodrick.

Rodney's legal team said new evidence shows Reed and Stites were in a relationship. Lawyers for Reed say DNA will show that Rodney did not sexually assault Stites and that at the time of her death she was with her fiancé not with Rodney.

"Test all DNA, you know what I mean, and give us a fair trial. That's all I'm asking," said Rodrick.

The Reed family said the real killer was Jimmy Fennel, Stites' fiancé at the time of her death. Fennel went on to become a Georgetown police officer, but was sent to prison in 2008 for sexually assaulting a woman while on duty.

"We're going to stay strong. We're going to stay positive. That's the only way we can think. That's only way we can be. Anything else is out of the question," said Rodrick.

Its cases like Rodney's that made former north Texas District Attorney Tim Cole rethink the death penalty altogether.

"Because we can't do it perfectly. That means we're going to execute somebody, or have executed somebody, who was innocent," said Cole.  

Cole said it's important to look at all DNA evidence introduced, even if it's found after sentencing.

"If we are going to keep the death penalty, we have to make sure that the people who we are executing are indeed guilty," said Cole.

As for Rodney, his fate sits in the hands of Gov. Greg Abbott, one of the only people who can stop the execution.

"I'm asking Governor Abbott to just look into his heart and just do the right thing," said Sandra Reed, Rodney's mother.

Saturday, protestors once again begged Abbott to look into the case because they fear time is running out.

Stacy Stites' sister Debra Oliver told FOX 7 last month that she believes "...Rodney Reed was the right person and he committed this crime."

Reed's attorney has also filed a petition with the Board of Pardons and Paroles seeking a change in sentence from death to life. That board votes and delivers their recommendation to the governor.



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