BASTROP, Texas - On day four of the Rodney Reed appeal, the defense brought in their final witnesses.
The first one was a former HEB employee who worked with Stacey Stites and helped solidify claims against Jimmy Fennell, Stites' fiance, that she was afraid of him.
Soon after, Fennell himself waived his Fifth Amendment rights, and took the stand.
"I thought if anything he was going to show up here and plead the Fifth," said Rodrick Reed, Rodney Reed’s brother.
The defense first asked about Fennell's time as a Giddings and Georgetown police officer. Fennell admitted he had been convicted of kidnapping and recently served ten years. But the highlight was that Fennell claims all the people saying he is abusive, controlling, and confessed to Stites' murder, is all a lie.
"Jimmy Fennell has been sitting up here calling everybody liars and everything he is saying is the truth… and that's something any person with common sense would not tend to believe," said Rodrick Reed.
Fennell said he never did believe Stites was cheating, let alone with Rodney Reed, someone he said he didn't even know of until Reed was arrested. Fennell also disagreed with the defense's pathologists, who testified Stites died much earlier than the 3 to 5 a.m. window the state argued in the original trial.
"It leads you to believe he has a deal with the prosecution. That's my opinion of course," said Rodrick Reed.
The defense said their mounting evidence, the fact that Fennell failed two polygraph tests, has no alibi, and cleaned out his account the morning Stites died, raises a red flag. Fennell also testified that he was with Stites in the hours before she passed away.
"Everything points to Jimmy Fennell, in the end he is going to get his," said Rodrick Reed.
Earlier this week, Stites' sister spoke to the media, saying she strongly believes Reed killed her sister.
"For all of these people that didn't want to come out during that first year, I just don't find their evidence 20 years later as credible," said Debra Oliver. "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."
After lunch, the state began their cross examination. An emotional Fennell said he and Stites were looking forward to getting married, they loved each other, and he never said the things that have been said about him earlier in court.
"Stacey Stites is a victim in this and her family is victimized in this, as we are victimized in this and I know what it's like. Justice has to be had for healing to come about. I want their family to have healing," said Reed.
Day 3 of Rodney Reed's hearing continues to see witness statements
Rodney Reed's defense brings forth more witnesses to make their case
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stays Rodney Reed's execution
Rodney Reed supporters celebrate suspended execution, "the fight is far from over"
Rodney Reed’s request for new judge denied
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