The indefinite stay of the court is another dramatic development in one of the most famous death sentences in Texas' recent history, which kills more people than any other state. Reed won bilateral – and notorious – supporters, and the court ruling was a victory for defenders who fought to end the execution of prisoners.
"This is an additional reason for the community to question the process of the death penalty in Texas," said Kenneth Williams, a professor at South Texas College of Law in Houston. "There was someone who was so close to the execution to convince the court ̵
1; a very difficult court – that he had at least the case of being innocent. This is another black eye for the death penalty system here in Texas. "
Reed's lawyer, Bryce Bendgett, of the innocence project, praised the court of appeals that sent the case back to Bastrop County District Court, where a judge will examined Reed's allegations that he was innocent and that the state prosecutor had committed misconduct.
"We are extremely relieved and grateful," Benjet said in a statement. "This will allow the powerful and motivating new evidence of Mr Reed's innocence to be properly considered."
The decision, which came hours after the pardon council's decision, made this recommendation "fundamentally controversial" said Williams. Now Reed's case will have another chance to cross its path through the court system, which may take months or even years, he said.
"There will be no execution date any time soon, I suppose," said Williams, who was a lawyer for the death penalty and is still teaching a class on the subject.
This type of pronouncement is extremely rare – "especially in Texas," he said, where the threshold for the reopening of the death penalty is extremely high.
"We believe Rodney will be guilty and I knew November 20 was a lie." , says Rodrick Reed, Rodney Reed's brother, about the planned execution date. "This is the date the man has set. God has not set this date. I just rejoiced when God showed us that we are right in what we put our faith in and what we believe in. "
Reed's life-sparing campaign has been backed by support in recent weeks by figures as wide-ranging as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) And reality star Kim Kardashian West. Stars, including Meek Mill, Oprah and Rihanna, have joined calls to halt executions, and a bipartisan Texas lawmaker has called on Abbott to deny Reed "until the news in his case is fully resolved." The execution had garnered nearly 3 million signatures by Friday.
Reed has long maintained that he is innocent of raping and strangling 19-year-old Stacey States, who at the time of her death was a grocery clerk and soon-to-benzimidazole bride. Prosecutors said he caught the young woman while she was driving to work early in the morning on April 23, 1996 and assaulted her. The key to the case was that Reid's DNA was found in States' body – a fact criminalists said jurors could only be explained by a sexual assault that happened at the same time as the murder.
But Reed said he and States had an affair and in the years after his conviction much of the evidence presented in the process was called into question.
The medical examination autopsied by States, Roberto Bayardo said in a statement that semen was not evidence of sexual assault and could be the result of a consensus meeting between Reed and States the day before the murder.
Others supported the argument by Reed's attorneys that Steets' fiance, Jimmy Fennell, may be guilty of the crime. They allege that Fennell, a former police officer who served time in prison for sexually assaulting a woman while on duty in 2007, was outraged that States had an affair with Reed, a black man, and that he admitted to her killed. Arthur Snow, a prisoner once imprisoned with Fennell, said in a recent oath that Fennell told him, "I had to kill my n —– loving fiance ."
Fennell's lawyer, Robert Phillips dismissed these claims as "ridiculously incorrect". He said the evidence against Reed was convincing and cited testimony from other women who claimed he had been victimized in other sexual assaults.
However, Reed's attorneys note that in one case he was acquitted while the others were never tried in court. Bendgett said Phillips and others are focusing on these incidents "because there is no evidence that actually supports Rodney's guilt."
Reed's family, his legal team and his supporters celebrated the events on Friday, but warned that their work was not done yet.
"We can breathe a little because we were down to the core – a matter of days, only a few days," said Rodrick Reed. "Now I have to remind everyone that it's great, it's a big win, but it's just a small fight. This is not war. "
Shortly after the decisions came down, said Bennett, a lawyer was traveling to jail to deliver Reed's news.