Film Synopsis: Rodney Reed was convicted of raping and killing 19 year-old Stacey Stites in May of 1998 and sentenced to death. Many observers felt Reed’s conviction was a miscarriage of justice, and that the evidence points to another killer — Stites’ fiancé and Giddings, TX police officer Jimmy Fennell Jr. This documentary explores the evidence involved in the case and the context of the trial that led to Reed’s death sentence.
This independently produced documentary premiered at the SXSW 2006 Film Festival in Austin, TX and has since played extensively throughout the U.S. at festivals and universities.
FACT UPDATE: In 2008, Officer Fennell pled guilty to kidnapping and improper sexual activity with a person in custody and sentenced to 10 years in Jail. In 2012, former Travis County Medical Examiner Roberto Bayardo made dramatic ‘clarifications’ of his original testimony, including proffering that there was no evidence that Reed’s semen found on the victim “was placed there in any other fashion other than consensually”. In Fall 2012, Reed’s Federal Appeal was denied. In November 2013, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the final point of relief prior to setting an execution date, agreed to hear oral arguments from Reed’s defense. The hearing is set for Dec. 4, 2013.
Directors/Producers: Ryan Polomski and Frank Bustoz
The latest update is that on Jan. 10, 2014, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal denied his writ, and rightfully so. I encourage people to read the actual court opinions and not rely on anti-death penalty documentaries.
Click to access 13-70009-CV0.pdf
On 3/19/2014, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal denied Reed’s motion for a rehearing.