The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday stayed the execution of Rodney Reed, who was convicted of the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites. The court will reportedly consider “false testimony” and “actual innocence” claims before taking any further action. The Austin American-Statesman reported earlier Friday that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted unanimously in favor of delaying his execution for 120 days and sent their recommendation to Gov. Greg Abbott. The board reportedly declined to commute his death sentence to a life term. “What we explained to the board was that this is a complicated case with compelling evidence of innocence, and that it needs to be considered in an orderly way,” one of Reed’s lawyers, Bryce Benjet, told the newspaper. The evidence of innocence reportedly includes forensic experts who believe 19-year-old Stites was killed hours before she could have seen Reed, and Reed’s admission that he was having an affair with Stites—a white woman—which angered her white boyfriend.
Reality TV star and criminal justice advocate Kim Kardashian reportedly went to visit Reed on Friday. She has publicly called for Gov. Abbott to “do the right thing” with Reed’s case. “How can you execute a man when since his trial, substantial evidence that would exonerate Rodney Reed has come forward and even implicates the other person of interest,” she tweeted in October.