The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit's ruling in Reed v. Stephens is available in Adobe .pdf format.
"Rodney Reed’s innocence claim rejected in Bastrop County murder," is by Chuck Lindell in the American-Statesman.
A federal appeals court has denied an appeal by Rodney Reed, leaving the death row inmate with limited options to avoid lethal injection in the 1996 rape and murder of Stacey Stites in Bastrop County.
Reed’s lawyers argue that he is innocent of the crime and that Stites was murdered by somebody else — most likely her fiance, Jimmy Fennell, who years later was sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping a woman in his custody as a Georgetown police officer.
Reed argued that he and Stites were engaged in a secret affair, explaining the presence of his semen in her body, and his lawyers presented testimony from two medical experts who concluded that the semen had likely been deposited at least 24 hours — and as long as one week — before Stites was killed.
But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected those arguments, ruling Friday that Reed’s innocence claim lacked credibility.
Instead of establishing Reed’s innocence, the experts at best provided an alternate scenario that lacked solid scientific support, a three-judge panel of the court ruled.
Reed’s lawyers have vowed to continue challenging his conviction through every legal avenue available.
The most likely next step, defense lawyer Bryce Benjet said, will be to ask all 14 judges on the appeals court to rehear the case, though such requests are rarely granted. If that fails, the final step would be appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, which also rarely grants review of cases. An execution date cannot be set until the appeals process ends.
Earlier coverage of Rodney Reed's case begins at the link.
The Austin Chronicle's archive of Rodney Reed articles, is an excellent resource for those following the case.