Supreme Court rejects Rodney Reed's request to review claim for new trial

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Rodney Reed's request to review his claim for a new trial.

Reed, 56, has been on Death Row for 26 years after being convicted for the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites in Bastrop

Prosecutors argued the two were strangers. Reed's attorneys say Reed was having an affair with Stites, and Stites' fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, was the real killer.

The Supreme Court's decision not to take up this argument did not come with an explanation. The rejection means the Court of Appeals decision to deny Reed a new trial still stands. 


Last year, Reed petitioned the judge in his 2021 evidentiary hearing was biased. In that hearing, his claim was rejected that prosecutors in the original trial illegally suppressed evidence.

In a Facebook Live, Reed's brother, Rodrick Reed, says "We're going to keep fighting, we're going to keep going on to do what we set out to do, not just to get Rodney home but to get justice for Rodney, justice for Stacey Stites, to get this death penalty abolished."

Roderick Reed, brother of Rodney Reed, walks with a supporter outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on October 11, 2022. - The US Supreme Court will hear an appeal today from Rodney Reed, a Texas man on death row, who maintains his innocenc

Parker Rider-Longmaid, one of Reed's attorneys, released the following statement Tuesday:

"Rodney Reed has been fighting to prove his innocence for a quarter of a century. He has litigation pending in several courts and his legal team is continuing to pursue all available avenues to secure his relief.  Mr. Reed’s legal fight to test key DNA evidence and prove his innocence is far from over."

Debra Oliver, sister of Stacey Stites, released a statement that reads:

"Rodney Reed is guilty of the rape and murder of my sister, Stacey Stites, and this has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt.

In the 28 years since Reed brutally murdered my sister, no credible, tangible evidence of a relationship between the defendant and Stacey has ever materialized. This is because no relationship existed. There are no photos, no gifts, no phone records, no receipts, and no corroboration of a relationship by those that truly knew Stacey best. Reed's defense has never been believable, has been pushed by people in pursuit of their own agendas and ignores the overwhelming evidence that Reed is a serial rapist with no relationship to my sister.

The memory of my sister has been lost in the media circus created around this very open and shut case. Stacey was a daughter, a sister and a friend, with her whole life ahead of her. Reed took that all away. 

It is time for Reed to accept responsibility for his heinous crimes and for justice to prevail. It is time to stop retraumatizing Stacey's loved ones for the benefit of activists and those seeking notoriety from this nightmare.

I appreciate the state's attorneys and their continued commitment to seeking justice for Stacey. I am so grateful for the many people from around the world that continue to support my family."

Stites' cousin, Heather Stobbs, has said previously she believes Fennell killed Stites. She said on Tuesday:

"I am not surprised by the decision of the US Supreme Court regarding Reed’s case. Due to various factors, Reed’s original trial was a mess, and many others beside me feel that the case should be retried. The loss of Stacey has irrevocably harmed those that loved her, most of all my aunt and cousins who questioned in the first months whether Jimmy Fennell had done this. I think their initial instincts were correct. No one knows the answer except Stacey, Fennell, and Reed."

Reed was scheduled for execution in 2019, but the Texas Court of Appeals postponed it to allow the courts to consider new evidence.

Reed's case for requesting more DNA testing from the crime scene, including the belt used to strangle Stites, is still pending.