Execution Scheduled for November 20, 2019
The 9th season premiere episode of the Wrongful Conviction
with Jason Flom podcast presents the case of Rodney Reed, the innocent man
sentenced to death row in Texas after being wrongfully convicted for killing
Stacy Stites in 1996. With overwhelming evidence of his innocence drawing
international outcry from the likes of Rhianna, Kim Kardashian, Dr. Phil, the
Texas State Legislature, law enforcement groups, and many others, the podcast –
which has over 10,000,000 series listens – urges the public to join the
petition to the Texas governor to halt this injustice.
At the time of her death, Stites had recently become engaged to
police officer Jimmy Fennell, although she was then in a romantic relationship
with Reed. After Stites’ body was discovered strangled on a roadside in
Bastrop, Texas, Fennell was initially the primary suspect. The focus of the
investigation changed when forensic testing discovered Reed’s intact
spermatozoa inside Stites’ corpse and the now-discredited science of that time
asserted that spermatozoa cannot survive for over 24 hours once discharged.
Reed was arrested for murder, convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to
death – despite a solid alibi and no other forensic evidence of any kind
Current science disproves the state’s evidence that put Reed
behind bars; experts now agree that spermatozoa can survive up to 72 hours
after release, and all three of the state’s experts have disavowed their former
testimony. Reed maintains that he and Stites had consensual sex the day before
In this episode of the podcast, entrepreneur,
music industry executive, author, philanthropist, and social justice activist
Jason Flom visits Reed on death row for a chilling conversation about his
conviction. Reed’s attorney, Bryce Benjet, discusses new evidence that has come
to light, as well as the continuing battle to have the murder weapon and other
crime scene evidence finally tested for DNA. Reed’s brother, Rodrick, shares
his advocacy for his sibling’s freedom and the work of the Reed Justice
In addition, renowned forensics expert Dr.
Michael Baden revisits his compelling testimony that ruled out Reed as the
perpetrator and disproved the time of death alleged by the state at trial,
thereby placing Stites in her apartment when she died during a time when Fennel
stated under oath that he had been at home with Stites. When asked about this
discrepancy in his sworn testimony, Fennel, who was subsequently convicted of
kidnapping and murder in an unrelated case, responded by invoking his 5th
amendment rights. Fennell also failed 2 polygraph tests in connection with
the Stites murder investigation. In addition to this, years after Reed’s
conviction, Fennell had been quoted as saying that if he ever learned of Stites
cheating on him, he would strangle her with a belt and get away with it.
Rodney Reed was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on November 20th, 2019, but was given a 120 day stay of execution by Texas judge.
Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom
is a podcast that explores the tragedy and triumph of unequal justice and
actual innocence. Based on the files of the lawyers who freed them,
Wrongful Conviction features interviews
with men and women who have spent decades in prison for crimes they did not
Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom, and an upcoming slate of Wrongful Conviction series, are
a production of Lava For Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1 and
Learn more about the Reed Justice Initiative here.
Find Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom here.