Petition circulating online to exonerate death row inmate in Texas

Rodney Reed, Texas death row inmate awaiting execution
Photo courtesy

A petition is circulating on social media for people to sign and tell Texas Governor Greg Abbot to exonerate and stop the execution of Rodney Reed.

Reed is a death row inmate in Texas accused of raping and killing Stacey Stites in April 1996. He is scheduled for execution on Nov. 20.  This petition campaign has gained considerable  recognition, with celebrities and household names posting the link and electrically signing the petition to their social media accounts. It is also raising questions about Reed’s guilt.

Reed has been in a Texas prison since 1997 and has been claiming he is innocent ever since.  “I am absolutely innocent of this case, I had absolutely nothing to do with Stacey’s death,” Reed said in a recent interview with Dr. Phil.  “I was not with her that night, I absolutely had nothing to do with her death.”

There are mountains of evidence that claim to prove Reed’s innocence but was kept from the jury that convicted him.  The evidence actually points to Jimmy Fennell, who was Stites’ fiancé at the time and a local police officer. Fennell was originally the first suspect in Stites’ murder before arresting Reed.  Reed was having consensual sex with Stites behind Fennell’s back, and there are reports stating Fennell showed hatred and anger toward both once he found out.

Fennell was recently released from prison after serving a 10-year sentence for the kidnapping and improper sexual activity with a person in his custody in 20

Rodney Reed, Texas death row inmate awaiting execution. Photo courtesy


“As soon as I saw the petition, I researched the case, signed it, and shared the link to my page,” said Rafaelle Leroy, a third year student at Florida A&M.  “If the evidence at hand truly implicates Jimmy Fennell, then the entire situation is messed up.”

The petition first had a goal for 100,000 signatures and was quickly changed to a goal of one million after thousands of people signed the petition.  This campaign is encouraging people to call Senator Kirk Watson’s office and the Bastrop County District Attorney Bryan Goertz’s office to claim Reed’s innocence. People are also encouraged to send a clemency letter to Gov. Abbot and to the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole.  The link to the letter, phone numbers, instructions, and a script if you do not know what to say, are all on the petition website; which is

“It only takes a minute to sign this petition; I did it,” said Kalybriah Haskin, a graduate of FAMU.  “I even called and sent a clemency letter to Gov. Abbot.  The link can be found in a lot of bios.  I even put it in mine.”

The petition for Reed had a total of 636,261 signatures as of Monday.