AUSTIN, Texas - Rodney Reed walked into court Tuesday morning wearing a red and white jail uniform. He sat next to his family close enough for an embrace that his mother prays will come by the end of the week.
"Oh it’s so hard, that’s one of the hardest things to be close to him and can’t touch him , it’s been over now well 20 years," said Reed's mother Sandra.
Reed and his attorneys are trying to convince a judge to grant him a new trial after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered a hearing to be held.
"The expectation is that, we are going to prove the fact that we pled, and my concern is that if we limit the evidence here, we are not doing what the court of criminal appeals asked us to do," said defense attorney Bryce Benjet.
Most of the morning was spent arguing over what testimony would and would not be allowed.
"it’s the state's belief that the only newly discovered evidence that may be introduced here, is the supposed inconsistency regarding Jimmy Fennell's whereabouts on April 22, 1996," said Assistant AG Matthew Ottoway.
Jimmy Fennell is the former boyfriend of Stacey Stites who reed was convicted of murdering. Defense attorneys are trying to show that statements made by Fennell cast doubt on the original prosecution and that the wrong man was sent to death row for the crime. To support that claim Curtis Davis, a former friend of Fennell's testified about a cable T.V. interview he gave several years ago. Tuesday Davis restated his concerns about what Fennell told him regarding his location when sties was killed and how that conflicted with reports in the media.
"My intent was to give the side of the story that I didn’t think that was being given," said Davis.
While on the stand Davis had trouble remembering everything he and Fennell said in the past. Davis did restated how Fenell told him how after returning from a ball practice he found Stacey alive sleeping at home.
"I did a time allotment in my head and they don’t get home until 9:00 at night, and immediately I thought 10 or 11:00, 20 years after the fact," said Davis.
Reeds attorney argue the time of day in the Davis Fenell conversation conflicted with what forensic experts would later testify in the murder trial about when Stites was killed.
It was thought that Jimmy Fennell was going to testify, but his attorney told the judge, if his client was called, he would take the 5th. He is a former cop who was sent to jail for having improper sexual activity with a woman he detained and kidnapped. To not have Fennell testify was a disappointment for Reed's family who still believe an innocent man was convicted.
"Like I say, we are here fighting, and we will continue to fight, if we don’t win this this fight we will keep fighting until we can’t fight any more," said Sandra Reed.