Appeal process for Rodney Reed begins in pre-trial hearing

Cameras weren't allowed in a Bastrop County courtroom Tuesday, where Rodney Reed appeared before District Court Judge J.D. Langley. Reed has been temporarily taken off of death row as his appeal process kicks off.

"All the years, we've been denied and God has granted us to still have him here. The truth will reveal," said Sandra Reed, his mother.

Reed's lawyers and the state worked through some procedural processes and motions to set up the July 19th hearing which could last for two weeks.

"We have alleged there was suppression of evidence, we've alleged actual innocence, and we alleged the state used false evidence. The state has raised what's called a Latches defense which is basically, ‘You all waited too long,’" said Andrew MacRae, one of Reed’s attorneys.

Those issues are what the defense will attempt to prove in the upcoming hearing. Reed was convicted in the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites. He's been imprisoned for 23 years. Reed was set to be executed in 2019, however he was granted a stay in the eleventh hour.

Reed's lawyers said they have new evidence and witnesses that will prove his innocence, pointing at Stites' fiance for the murder.

"It'll be interesting to bring in all the evidence that they can bring. The time of death is so crucial, and we have new witnesses to corroborate," said Sandra Reed.

Prosecutors were not available for an interview Tuesday. However, Reed's family remains hopeful that he may one day soon come home. "It still gives me hope, I’m still optimistic," said Sandra Reed.


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