Rihanna, T.I., Busta Rhymes, Meek Mill, Questlove and a number of other prominent hip-hop and R&B acts have taken to Twitter to urge the state of Texas to halt the planned execution this month of Rodney Reed in light of new evidence in the death row inmate’s case. Reed, who has spent more than two decades on death row for the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites in Texas, is slated to be executed on Nov. 20.
According to CNN, a former prison inmate (Arthur Snow Jr.) has claimed in an affidavit that someone else, Stites’ fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, confessed to the murder several years ago. Reed, who is black, was convicted by an all-white jury of sexually assaulting and murdering Stites, a 19-year-old white woman, who was engaged at the time to local police officer Fennell.
The Innocence Project reports that the murder weapon was never tested for DNA evidence, the state’s three forensic experts admitted on record to errors in their testimony, a group of forensic pathologists have concluded that Reed’s guilt is medically and scientifically impossible and new evidence shows that Reed and Stites were in a consensual relationship at the time of her death. Snow, a former Aryan Brotherhood member, reportedly disclosed a conversation the two had in prison in which Fennell confessed to murdering Stites and said, “I had to kill my n—– -loving fiancée.”
Reed’s attorneys filed an application for clemency last week in an attempt to block his scheduled execution and a number of artists have joined the rising chorus — which also included a plea last month from Kim Kardashian West — asking Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to intervene. Click here to see the petition from Innocence Project.
See their tweets below.
— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) November 4, 2019
— Rihanna (@rihanna) November 4, 2019
— LLCOOLJ. (@llcoolj) November 4, 2019
— T.I. (@Tip) November 4, 2019
— Questlove from @SongsThatShook Oct 13th @AMC_tv (@questlove) November 4, 2019
— Sister Helen Prejean (@helenprejean) October 31, 2019
How insane!!!! New witness comes forward that Rodeny was NOT the murderer!!!! He is set to be executed Nov 20th. https://t.co/AgGcqVpjV6
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) October 31, 2019
I will never understand how we execute when we know it sometimes dooms innocent people. Click and sign and tell @GovAbbott to stop the execution of Rodney Reed. #FreeRodneyReed https://t.co/JXl65xcNHL
— Moshe Kasher (@moshekasher) November 4, 2019