BASTROP, Texas - Friday was the first day for the state to begin to make their case.
Their first witness was Renae Duncan, whose husband worked at the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office back in 1996, the year Stacey Stites was murdered. The rest of the day consisted of law enforcement officers.
They also called in Nathan Lapham who worked at the Giddings Police Department with Jimmy Fennell but was not involved in the Stites investigation. He said he was not aware of any complaints against Fennell at Giddings PD.
The next witness was David Board who worked for the Bastrop Police Department at the time of the murder. He testified that he found Stites' pickup truck that she shared with Fennell at a high school parking lot. The body was found on a county road, in the sheriff's office jurisdiction, but he still helped with the investigation.
He said he helped interview several HEB employees, and a reward for information was involved but never paid out. Board said DNA found in Stites' body linked Reed to the crime. Board testified that there was also an alleged other victim that positively identified Reed as the perpetrator.
During cross-examination however, the defense pointed out that Board is a member of the Facebook page, Stacey's Avengers, a group dedicated to talking about the case, trying to discredit his testimony.
After lunch, the state called L.R. Wardlow who had been a Texas Ranger investigating Stites' murder at the time. He says he interviewed Jimmy Fennell, and was aware that he failed two polygraphs, but said those were not admissible. He testified that DNA at the scene redirected their attention from Fennell to Rodney Reed.
During cross-examination, the defense told Wardlow that he wrote in his police report that the semen recovered at the scene was the quote "smoking gun." However the defense then alluded that the mere presence of semen does not mean that that Reed is the killer.
Wardlow stayed on the stand until later in the afternoon.
Reed's team is trying to get the judge to grant him a new trial. The state will continue to make their case through next week.
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Day 3 of Rodney Reed's hearing continues to see witness statements
Rodney Reed's defense brings forth more witnesses to make their case
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Rodney Reed supporters celebrate suspended execution, "the fight is far from over"
Rodney Reed’s request for new judge denied
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