BASTROP, Texas - The defense started the morning, calling witnesses that could speak to Jimmy Fennell, Stacey Stites' fiance's character.
One of them was Arthur Snow, a former member of the Aryan brotherhood and inmate who says his ex-wife, a witness for the state, threatened him not to testify. Snow testified that Fennell confessed to killing Stites while incarcerated.
The state cross-examined Snow, saying that jailhouse statements aren't valid. The defense claimed the state badgered their witness.
"I thought Arthur Snow told the truth because he didn't get anything out of it, he wasn't asking for anything. The prosecution was trying to give him a really tough time," said Rodrick Reed, Rodney Reed’s brother.
The defense also called Michael Bordelon, also an inmate with Fennell. He testified Fennell was a racist and said to him "I took care of her, and that n**** is going to do the time."
At recess, Reed's brother Rodrick was banned after making a statement to the prosecution at break time. "He was staring at me as if I did something wrong. I looked at him and said I don’t know how y’all can sleep at night. I left it at that and walked out and they came out after I’m smoking a cigarette and said I can't come back in there," said Reed.
The court later allowed Rodrick back in the courtroom, where a couple of Stites' former co-workers testified.
One said he saw Reed and Stites at either Dairy Queen or Wal-Mart, which contradicts the state's claim in the original trial that the two didn't know one another. Another co-worker also said Fennell showed up to Stites' job at HEB and said something that made her cry, an attempt from the defense to speak to Fennell's character.
The Reed family attending the hearing in large numbers remains hopeful about the outcome.
"The Reed family, myself, we want justice not only just for Rodney Reed, but also Stacey Stites and for the Stites family," said Mark Clements, organizer and supporter of the Reed family.
Stacey Stites’ sister Debra Oliver said Tuesday nothing presented so far has changed her mind and she believes Reed murdered her sister.
"I haven’t found any of them to be credible. The fact that a lot of these people waited for over 20 years before they decided to come forward…the mind is a funny thing, sometimes seeds are planted, especially after they say they’ve watched something like the Dr. Phil show," said Oliver.
Oliver also said if Fennell were to testify, she would not have an issue with it. "I don’t have any problem with Jimmy coming forward, I’ve had contact with Jimmy and Jimmy Fennell was and always will be our brother-in-law. I’m 100 percent confident that Jimmy did not kill my sister," said Oliver.
The state said they will not speak to the media until after the hearing in the coming days.
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