By Ascari Bryant and Paulina Buelna
BASTROP, TX – Rodney Reed’s evidence hearing in his murder appeal continued Tuesday for a second day here with new evidence to support the release of Reed, according to reports from news anchor Jenni Lee of KVUE, who live-tweeted the events.
Reed is represented by The Innocence Project and his defense team has uncovered new witnesses and evidence it claims cast doubt on the original verdict. New evidence portrays Jimmy Fennell, the fiancé of victim Stacey Stites, as the real perpetrator.
Day 2 of Reed’s case began with the cross-examination of the defense’s first witness James Clampit, a former Bastrop County Sheriff’s deputy. He testified that during Stites’ funeral service, Fennell, stated, “she got what she deserved.”
Clampit said it was “the most shocking thing” he had ever heard. Clampit was asked by the state, was it the media that made him come forward, Clampit stated, “yes.” The defense asked, was he scared of retaliation, he answered, “no, I’m retired.”
The continuation of witnesses on the stand followed with former inmate Arthur Snow Jr. who was in an Aryan brotherhood with Fennell in prison. Snow testified that Fennell approached the Aryan Brotherhood while in prison for protection to which AB provided.
Fennell had pleaded guilty to kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman in 2008 and served a 10-year sentence. While in prison he revealed incriminating evidence to Snow.
According to sources in court, Snow testified that Fennell said to him “You wouldn’t believe how easily a man’s belt would break, strangling an (n-word)- loving whore.” A belt was identified as the murder weapon used to strangle Stites.
After putting two witnesses on the stand to defend Reed’s innocence, his defense team added another witness to present Fennell as the actual murder.
Witness Michael Bordelon took the stand to testify his verbal encounters with Fennell in prison. Bordelon claimed during several conversations Fennel admitted to killing his wife.
On the stand he said, “he told me a damn (n-word)’ killed his finance and that man was on death row… I was curious what he actually meant.” Bordelon then added Fennel later told him “I took care of the problem” and then said, “ I took care of her” while simulating stranding motion Bordelon said.
He also added that Fennell had prided himself on the fact that Reed was taking the blame for his actions.
Following the testimonies, it was revealed Rodick Reed, Rodney Reed’s brother was banned from the courtroom after an outburst toward prosecutors asking, how could they sleep at night. Judge JD Langley informed him he was not there to be a referee between the gallery and attorneys.
The hearing is set to continue on for three more days.