BASTROP, Texas — Sixteen Texas state senators have sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott's office and the chair of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, urging them to "grant a reprieve to Rodney Reed," a Bastrop, Texas, man who is weeks away from being executed.
Reed is convicted of the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites in Bastrop County. However, his supporters have maintained his innocence, saying key evidence, such as the murder weapon, has never been tested for DNA.
"As you know, the case that put Mr. Reed on death row has been called into serious question by compelling new witness statements and forensic evidence along with evidentiary gaps that could be filled with additional investigation and testing," the letter said. "We appreciate how difficult decisions like this are and know how seriously you take them, but only you can postpone his execution to allow these new leads to be properly explored."
The senators said Reed's case recalls the sentiment then-Gov. George W. Bush expressed in 1998 when he commuted the sentence against Henry Lee Lucas when there were doubts about his guilt.
Sen. Cruz tweeted Friday, "having spent yrs in law enforcement, I believe capital punishment can be justice for the very worst murderers, but if there is credible evidence there’s a real chance the defendant is innocent, that evidence should be weighed carefully."
More than 20 representatives signed a letter this past week asking the governor to grant Reed a reprieve.
A petition to free Reed has reached more than 2 million signatures.
For more in-depth coverage, subscribe to KVUE's "Texas Crime Files" podcast on Reed's case. New episodes will drop every Wednesday until Nov. 20.
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