BASTROP COUNTY, Texas — In a new filing Tuesday, our news partners at the Austin American-Statesman report that lawyers say new witnesses have come forward in Rodney Reed's defense.
The petition was reportedly filed before 1 a.m. on Tuesday, listing eight new witnesses who have provided testimony the court has not yet seen. Four of those provided sworn affidavits just days before the filing.
According to the Statesman, these witnesses support Reed's claim that he was having an affair with victim Stacey Stites before her murder in 1996, which would explain why his semen was found in her body.
The four most recent witnesses include:
- Rebecca Peoples, who said she and Stites would talk when they worked together at H-E-B about how she was afraid of her fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, and that she was "having an affair with a black man."
- Richard Derleth, a former Bastrop County Sheriff's deputy, who said H-E-B employees told him in 1996 that they would warn Stites if her fiancé arrived at the store, allowing her to hide because she feared he would begin arguing with her in public.
- Brent and Vicki Sappington, who said Brent’s late father lived directly below the Giddings, Texas, apartment shared by Stites and Fennell. The father said he often overheard them arguing and believed Fennell was physically abusive.
In late October, a former inmate also submitted a sworn affidavit on behalf of Reed, claiming Fennell confessed to killing her.
In 2007, Fennell pled guilty to kidnapping and improper sexual activity with a person in his custody while he was an officer with the Georgetown Police Department. He served just under 10 years.
Meanwhile, prosecutors stand by their case and the guilty verdict, and numerous appeals court decisions have gone in the State's favor, including a U.S. Supreme Court decision to not review his case.
Reed is set to be executed on Nov. 20.
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