An appeals court denied a motion for a retrial in the case of death row inmate Rodney Reed on Wednesday.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld a recommendation from a lower court that Reed was guilty of murder, despite claims from Reed and his supporters that evidence showed he was not guilty.
Reed was sentenced to death after being convicted of a 1996 murder in Bastrop. He was found guilty of raping and strangling 19-year-old Stacey Stites to death when she was traveling to a local supermarket.
The appeals court said that Reed did not make a persuasive enough case proving his innocence.
“In sum, Reed has failed to make an affirmative, persuasive showing that, likelier than not, he is innocent of Stacey Stites’s murder,” read the appeals court ruling.
Jane Pucher, an attorney representing Reed, disagreed with the court’s ruling.
“Mr. Reed’s conviction and death sentence violates the most central tenets of our Constitution and cannot stand. We will continue to fight for Mr. Reed’s freedom and bring him home to his family.”
Stites’ sister also issued a statement reaffirming her belief that Reed is guilty. Reed claims that he had an ongoing relationship with Stites and that Stites’ fiance murdered her after discovering an alleged affair. Stites’ sister refuted Reed’s claims and called for his execution to move forward.
“My sister’s memory has been lost in the media circus created around this very open and shut case. Stacey was a daughter, a sister and a friend with her whole life ahead of her. Reed took that all away. It is time for Reed to accept responsibility for his heinous crimes and for justice to prevail.”
Part of that “media circus” now includes celebrity activists who have thrown their support behind Rodney Reed.
Kim Kardashian and Oprah Winfrey have counted themselves among the alleged murderer’s most ardent supporters.
Despite the family’s wishes and multiple court rulings, Reed will not face the executioner anytime soon.
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Reed should have the chance to pursue further testing of crime scene evidence that could exonerate him.