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'Free Rodney Reed:' Celebrities use star power to try to stop execution of man on death row in Texas

Rodney Reed said he didn't try to hide his relationship with Stacy Stites before she died. Hear the full story on Death Row Stories airs Sundays on HLN.

Posted: Nov 5, 2019 2:20 AM
Updated: Nov 5, 2019 2:20 AM

Rihanna, LL Cool J, Gigi Hadid and other celebrities have joined Kim Kardashian West in trying to stop the execution of a Texas death row inmate later this month, prompting hundreds of thousands to sign an online petition against the execution.

Singer Rihanna tweeted: "One Click!!! SIGN this petition if you don't believe the Government should kill an innocent man," and tagged Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Reed has spent more than 21 years on death row for the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites in 1996. He insists he is innocent, and a former prison inmate last week filed an affidavit in court saying Stites' fiancé confessed the murder to him years ago. The fiancé's attorney says that claim is not credible.

The Innocence Project -- which says Reed, who is black, was convicted by an all-white jury -- points out what it calls weaknesses in the case, saying that the murder weapon has never been tested for DNA evidence and forensic experts have admitted to errors in their testimony.

"We must come together to prevent a gross injustice," actress Yara Shahidi tweeted.

Other witnesses have come forth in recent weeks suggesting Reed is innocent.

Last week, Reed's attorneys filed an application for clemency as they try to stop his November 20 execution.

His attorneys have fought for a new trial for years, and a court stayed his execution in 2015 because of new witness testimony and forensic analysis. The court eventually ruled against Reed.

Among the many celebrities who've also tweeted their protests of the execution include rappers Meek Mill, LL Cool J, T.I., musician Questlove, former NFLer Reggie Bush and actor Isaiah Washington.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 898799

Reported Deaths: 17305
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Fire danger will be extreme Sunday-Monday as the biggest dry wind event of the season takes shape. A widespread freeze in the Sierra-Cascades as low as single-digit values possible Sunday night. Mild & sunny weather after Tuesday.
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