His hearing was delayed until 2021 due to the coronavirus, according to The Innocence Project. He has not had visitors during the pandemic due to COVID-19, like other prison inmates.
Reed, now 52, is incarcerated in the Allan B. Polunsky Unit in West Livingston, Polk County, Texas, according to his prison records.
Reed’s case is being examined on a new episode of ABC 20/20, which airs at 9 p.m. Eastern time Friday, December 11, 2020.
Here’s what you need to know:
Reed Was Scheduled for Execution on November 20, 2019 When A Stay Was Ordered & He Is Now Awaiting a Hearing
Reed was scheduled to die by lethal injection in the murder of Stites on November 20, 2019. But a stay of execution was ordered as the day approached, issued by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. An indefinite stay was issued to allow for a new trial, according to CBS Austin.
Reed is on death row at the Allan B. Polunsky Unit. Polunsky houses nearly 3,000 inmates, according to the Texas Department of Corrections. It is located in West Livingston, a town in Polk County, Texas.
Here is his prison record:
A hearing in the case was delayed due to COVID-19, which has hit Texas jails and prisons particularly hard. A report by the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas found Texas inmates and staff tested positive for the coronavirus at a 490% higher rate than the state’s general population. In addition, nine Texas inmates approved for parole died in prison before their release.
Rodney’s hearing is currently scheduled for 2021, according to The Innocence Project.
Kim Kardashian West, who is among the celebrities advocating for Reed, said she was with him when the news of his execution was announced.
She wrote on Instagram:
Today, I had the honor of meeting #RodneyReed in person and the privilege of sitting with him when he got the news that the highest court in Texas had issued a stay of execution and remanded the case back to the trial court for further consideration. Words cannot describe the relief and hope that swept over the room in that moment. That hope had been building over the last few weeks around Rodney’s case. We have seen Democrats and Republicans come together. We have seen grassroots activists and lawmakers link arms. We have heard people all around the globe speak up. And all because of a deep belief that every man or woman accused of a crime – especially one punishable by death – deserves the chance to have all available evidence considered.
So grateful for the commitment and passion of everyone who voiced their support, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles for their recommendation to issue a 120 day reprieve, and the courts for issuing a stay!
Reed Has a New Grandbaby, Who He Heard in a Recording From Prison
She said the last words out of her daughter's mouth were, "Mom, I love you." Tonight, Carol Stites opens up about the memories of being with her daughter Stacey and the heartbreak of losing her. | Watch our new #ABC2020 with @DebRobertsaBC at 9/8c on @ABC. https://t.co/MobYYPlpJ7 pic.twitter.com/JYcUzdG9wB
— 20/20 (@ABC2020) December 11, 2020
Life is different in prison for Reed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other Texas inmates, he is not allowed visitors to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. He spoke to his attorneys with The Innocence Project in November 2020 about his incarceration today.
“I spend most of my time alone, which is hard but also helpful in these circumstances,” he said. “But I am always wearing my mask. Access to the phones has been even more limited now than usual, and I have not been able to speak with my family in a long time. But whenever I go to the phone to have a legal call, my mask is up and I try not to touch anything.”
His son, Christopher, recently welcomed a new baby into the family. He said he is anxiously awaiting a photo of his new grandson.
“I was able to hear a recording of the baby cooing, and that was very important for me,” he said.