The United States Supreme Court has rejected a Texas death row inmate’s petition to have his murder case reviewed.

Rodney Reed was convicted of the murder of a 19-year-old woman in Bastrop in 1998. Reed, who was 30 at the time of the crime, was found guilty of raping and strangling Stacey Stites as she was traveling to a local supermarket. Reed claims that he and Stites were having consensual sex the day before she disappeared. About a year after her murder, Reed was linked to the case after a DNA test found his sperm cells inside Stite’s body.

On Tuesday, SCOTUS declined Reed’s petition for a writ of certiorari. If granted, the case would have been moved to the higher court for further examination and review. The petition was declined without any additional comment.

Since his conviction 26 years ago, Reed has consistently asserted his innocence.

Reed was originally scheduled for execution in 2019; however, it was delayed indefinitely after a large public outcry from lawmakers, religious leaders, and celebrities called for a review of his conviction.

In April of 2023, the Supreme Court ruled in Reed’s favor in regard to when the statute of limitations for a due process claim — a two-year time period — begins. A lower court had ruled that Reed could not request DNA testing on crime scene evidence because the time limit had expired following his conviction. However, the court ruled that the clock starts on the two-year period “when the state litigation ends, in this case when the Texas Court of Appeals denied Reed’s motion for a hearing,” per court documents.

This ruling opened the way for Reed’s attorney to request DNA testing on the murder weapon, Stites’ belt, which was used to strangle the victim.

“The respondent in this case, Bastrop County District Attorney Bryan Goertz, has refused to allow DNA testing of the crime scene evidence. He should join us in the search for the truth, rather than blocking it. If DNA evidence exists, as it does here, it should be tested. It’s that simple,” Parker Rider-Longmaid, one of Reed’s attorneys, said following the ruling.

In June 2023, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied a motion for a retrial, claiming that Reed did not make a persuasive enough case proving his innocence, as reported by The Dallas Express.

“In sum, Reed has failed to make an affirmative, persuasive showing that, likelier than not, he is innocent of Stacey Stites’s murder,” the appeals court ruling stated.

However, Reed’s execution date has not been rescheduled. His team is still working to pursue evidence that could exonerate him, including DNA testing on Stites’ belt, which has not been completed.

“[Reed] has litigation pending in several courts and his legal team is continuing to pursue all available avenues to secure his relief,” said Rider-Longmaid, per The Texas Tribune. “Mr. Reed’s legal fight to test key DNA evidence and prove his innocence is far from over.”

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Reed’s due process claim case in August, according to his attorneys.