Fennell attorney discusses Rodney Reed case
AUSTIN, Texas —
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will decide whether death row inmate Rodney Reed might have a chance at a new trial. He's the man who some say was wrongly convicted in the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites, and his supporters say her fiancé Jimmy Fennell did it.
Fennell got out of prison after serving nine and half years in the kidnapping and improper sexual activity of another woman. “He's more than paid his debt to society,” said Bob Phillips, the attorney who defended him in the case. Fennell was a Georgetown police officer when he committed that crime, but questions linger about what, if any, role he played in Stites’ murder.
“They're flat out accusing him of being the real killer,” Phillips said. “Is he the real killer?” I asked. “No,” Phillips answered. Phillips agreed to sit down to an interview to get Fennell’s side of the story for the first time since he left prison. “I commend [Reed’s] lawyers for being creative, and aggressive and relentless, but they have no basis for any new trial,” Phillips said.
At a hearing in October of 2017, Rodney Reed’s mother, Sandra Reed, told us she believes her son was wrongly convicted. “We've been fighting for justice for a long time,” she said then. Rodney Reed’s family and supporters have been fighting to get him a new trial for nearly two decades. But Phillips says justice was served in Stacey Stites’ murder. “Justice on a human scale. The real justice is when he faces his maker,” Phillips said, adding that the evidence presented at trial says Fennell didn’t do it.
“Rodney Reed richly deserves to taste death for the brutal killing of Stacey Stites,” he said.