Rodney Reed - TX

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Rodney Reed - TX

Post  Jennie on Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:45 pm

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Re: Rodney Reed - TX

Post  Jennie on Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:48 pm

Attorney files to submit more evidence in death row case----Rodney Reed's
attorney says new information should prove convicted man's innocence.

The attorney for death row inmate Rodney Reed filed a motion Wednesday
asking an appeals court for a new trial because of what he cited as new
evidence against a former suspect in the murder of Stacey Stites.

Bryce Benjet, Reed's attorney, said the new evidence about Jimmy Fennell
Jr., Stites' fianc at the time, includes what Benjet said was Fennell's
personal Web site that contains sexual content and violent images.

Reed is on death row for the 1996 strangling of 19-year-old Stites in
Bastrop County, but Reed's attorney says Fennell, then a Giddings police
officer, should have been investigated more thoroughly as a suspect.

Benjet said other recent evidence includes a woman's allegations that
Fennell acted improperly as a Georgetown police officer when he pulled her
over and Fennell's admitting in May to kidnapping and having sex with a
woman in custody in October.

Fennell resigned from the department in January and is awaiting trial in
the kidnapping incident.

"I think it confirms everything about Jimmy Fennell's character that we've
said from the beginning," Benjet said. "If the jury knew everything that
we know now, I'm confident that a jury would never have convicted Reed."

Fennell's attorney, Bob Phillips, said Benjet is becoming desperate and
that the conviction won't be overturned because Reed's DNA was found on
Stites' body.

"Every time there is another news story, it has the potential to taint any
jury pool for my case, whether the allegations are true, false, reckless
or utterly unfounded," Phillips said.

Fennell pleaded guilty in May to kidnapping and improper sexual activity
with a person in custody and would have received two years in prison and
10 years probation under the plea deal, but District Judge Burt Carnes
denied the agreement and set a September trial date.

Fennell is accused of driving an intoxicated woman to a secluded area,
asking her to dance for him and then raping her as she leaned on his
police cruiser, according to court documents.

Benjet said an image of a woman leaning over the back of a car in
revealing clothing on what he says is Fennell's MySpace page is relevant
because of the allegations of raping the woman against his car.

The Web site does not contain Fennell's name, and the owner of the site is
only pictured in full police SWAT gear, including a face mask, but Benjet
said an acquaintance of Fennell came forward with the site and said
Fennell used it to solicit women for sex.

Phillips said there is no way to positively identify whose page it is and
that the images Benjet cites were not posted by the site's owner.

"I have no idea if this is Jimmy Fennell's Web site, but a lawyer can
allege anything he wants in a writ of habeas corpus," Phillips said.
"Proving it is quite another matter."

(source: Austin American-Statesman)
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