News 07.10.18

‘What Happened to Justice?’: Rodney Reed’s Mother Responds to Supreme Court Decision Denying Her Son Access to DNA Testing

By Innocence Staff

Sandra Reed with Innocence Project Staff Attorney Bryce Benjet, who is one of Rodney Reed's attorneys.

“The state of Texas still wants to take my son’s life,” reads the first sentence of Sandra Reed’s opinion piece in the Statesman about her son, Innocence Project client Rodney Reed, who has served more than 20 years on death row for a murder for which he maintains his innocence.

On June 25, 2018, the United States Supreme Court denied Mr. Reed’s petition to review the denial of his request for access to DNA testing by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. DNA testing, Mr. Reed and his attorneys argue, could provide dispositive proof of his innocence.

Related: Expert Witnesses Admit Error in Case of Rodney Reed who has Served 22 Years on Texas Death Row, Prompting New Appeal

Additional appeals raising new forensic evidence of Mr. Reed’s innocence remain pending.

“A world-renowned pathologist testified that my son couldn’t have committed the murder. But the state of Texas refuses to DNA test all the evidence,” writes Ms. Reed.

Ms. Reed recounts how DNA was used to convict her son even though it had nothing to do with the murder. But not all of the DNA reports were presented to the jury. For example, Ms. Reed recalls a DNA report hidden from the jury that revealed beer cans found at the scene excluded Mr. Reed and implicated two police officers and the victim. “Why not test the remaining evidence?” Ms. Reed pleads.

Related: Innocence Project Responds to U.S. Supreme Court Denial of Cert Petition in Case of Rodney Reed

Ms. Reed contends there was no proof her son was involved in the murder. Without definitive proof, why does the state of Texas want to execute her son? In her words: “Why is Texas determined to take my son’s life based on old DNA, seemingly corrupt cops, lawyers, and yes, all of the state’s experts who said my son was guilty have since recanted their testimony. There is no proof, all that remains is the age-old prejudice that a white girl wouldn’t be involved with my son.”

In addition to so-called evidence Ms. Reed cites, she considers the intangible factors that led to her son’s conviction: “Tell me, what happened to the reasonable doubt? What happened to compassion? What happened to empathy? What happened to justice? My son didn’t receive any of the above.”

Mr. Reed’s experience has made her realize that her son isn’t the only innocent person on death row; there are many innocent people, like her son, waiting to be executed. As a result, Ms. Reed is now an advocate for death penalty abolition and, on a broader scope, for a justice system that “seek[s] the truth.”

Rodney Reed

Send Mr. Reed a note of encouragement as he fights to prove his innocence.

Leave a reply

  1. Lori Howard says:

    Mr. Reed,
    I have been following your case for years and I don’t understand why the Texas courts are unwilling to test the DNA in your case. I think they are afraid they’ve made a huge mistake and I believe they have. Fennell makes perfect sense as the perpetrator of this crime.

    Please don’t give up hope. We pray for you.

    P.S. My best friend spent 5749 days on Mississippis death row as an innocent man. He met the preponderance of evidence for actual innocence due to newly discovered evidence. We still seek justice but he is no longer under the threat of death. It WILL happen for him like I pray it will happen for you!

  2. Amy Nance says:

    Hello Mr. Reed,
    I just listened to your story on a true crime podcast and absolutely believe in your innocence! I hope at some point this all comes to light! You are very much believed in, stay strong and never give up!

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