Attorneys for Rodney Reed fight to save him from death row

The Rodney Reed case has been appealed and denied many times.

However, now the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is finally hearing oral arguments for the first time.

"What happens is that Rodney's lawyers will be given 30 minutes to present their evidence and then the state will also be given 30 minutes....and the judges will be able to ask questions about the case. The main issue that they will be discussing today is ineffective assistance of council," said Lily Hughes with the Campaign to end the Death Penalty.

Rodney's mother Sandra is hoping the court will help get her son off death row.

"Knowing the evidence, knowing the truth, keeps us strong in this fight so we're gonna fight until the end," Reed said.

Rodney Reed admits he was having an affair with Stacy Stites who was engaged to a police officer named Jimmy Fennell.


When the 19-year-old white woman was raped and killed in 1996, Reed, a black man, became a suspect, and an all-white Bastrop County jury sentenced him to death.

In 2008, Stacy's former fiance, Jimmy Fennell was sent to prison himself for sexually assaulting a woman in his custody while on duty with the Georgetown Police Department.

Fennell's attorney told FOX 7 at the time, that particular situation doesn't reflect on his role in the Rodney Reed case.

"This case has nothing to do with the Rodney Reed appeal. The Rodney Reed appeal is the product of some imaginative and very creative lawyers who are trying to do whatever they can to save their man from death row," said attorney Bob Phillips in 2008.

Reed's family told FOX 7 this week, they believe Fennell is Stacy Stites' real murderer.

"If you do something like that, what else you wouldn't do," Sandra Reed said.

In New Orleans, evidence is expected to be brought out that should have been presented before but wasn't, like the medical examiner's statement that information was misinterpreted and that the DNA evidence from Reed could have been older than the time of the murder.

In the meantime, Reed's mother Sandra is clinging to her faith and looks forward to the times when she gets to visit Rodney.

She hopes to be in New Orleans on Thursday to support her son.

"We just look forward to these visits and knowing that the truth will prevail and one day, he'll be free," she said.

Sandra is part of a group that wants to completely get rid of the death penalty.

So she says she would not want Fennell to be put to death if he's ever indicted for Stites' murder.

Reed's family and the protesters are hoping for another trial in Bastrop County.

They feel since so much has changed, this time it will be a fair trial.

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