The court's indefinite stay is another dramatic development in one of Texas' most famous death sentences in recent history, where more people are killed than in any other state. Reed has won bipartisan and famous supporters, and the court's ruling is a victory for advocates who have fought to end the execution of prisoners.
"There is another reason for the public to question the death penalty process in Texas." Kenneth Williams, Professor at the South Texas College of Law, Houston. "They had someone so close to being executed, convincing the court ̵
1; a very harsh court – that he is innocent, at least at first glance – it's another black eye for the death penalty system here in Texas . "
Reed's lawyer Bryce Benjet of the Innocence Project praised the decision of the Court of Appeal, which referred the case back to the Bastrop district court, where a judge accused Reed of allegations he was innocent and that the prosecutor had committed misconduct.
"We are very relieved and thankful," Benjet said in a statement. "This opportunity will allow us to properly consider the powerful and ever-new evidence of Mr. Reed's innocence."
The decision, which was taken a few hours after the decision of the pardon authority, makes this recommendation "basically controversial," Williams said. Now, Reed's case will have another chance to find his way through the court system, which could take months or even years, he said.
"I suspect he will soon have no execution date," Williams said.
This type of decision is extremely rare – "especially in Texas," where the threshold for resuming a capital punishment is extremely high.
"We believe Rodney is being relieved, and I knew that November 20 was a lie," said Rodrick Reed, Rodney's brother, about the planned execution date. "That's the date the man set, God did not set that date, I was just glad when God showed us we were right, what we trusted, and what we believed in."
The campaign, Reeds Saving lives has been supported in recent weeks by the support of numerous personalities such as Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) And reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, and stars such as Meek Mill, Oprah and Rihanna have demanded the cessation of execution and one A bipartisan group of Texas lawmakers urged Abbott to grant Reed compensation "until the new developments in his case are fully understood." An online petition called for the governor's stop The execution had collected nearly 3 million signatures by Friday.  Reed has long maintained that he is innocent of raping and strangling the 19-year-old Stacey Stites, who at the time of her death was an employee in e inem grocery store and soon employee was -be-bride. The prosecution said he intercepted the young woman when she went to work on the morning of April 23, 1996, and attacked her. The key to the case was that Stite's body was found to have Reed-matched DNA – a fact that forensic scientists said the jury could only be explained as the result of a sexual assault that happened around the same time as the murder.
The prosecution called it the "Cinderella Slipper" in the case.
But Reed said he and Stites had an affair, and in the years since his conviction, much of the evidence has been challenged.
The medical examiner Roberto Bayardo, who carried out the autopsy of Stites, stated in a statement that the semen was not evidence of sexual assault and could have been the result of a mutual meeting between Reed and Stites the day before the murder. Witnesses have come forward to learn about the affair.
Others have substantiated an argument by Reed's lawyers that Stitty's fiancee's Jimmy Fennell could be responsible for the crime. They claim that Fennell, a former police officer who served in prison in 2007 for sexual assault on a woman, was outraged that Stites had a relationship with Reed, a black man, and confessed to killing her. Arthur Snow, an inmate who was once imprisoned with Fennell, said in a recent affidavit that Fennell told him, "I had to kill my n —- loving fiancé."
Fennell's lawyer, Robert Phillips, has dismissed these allegations as "ridiculously untrue." He said the evidence against Reed was compelling, pointing to statements by other women who said they had been victimized by him in other sexual assaults.
Reed's lawyers note this, however. Benjet said Phillips and others are focusing on these incidents, "because there is no evidence to support Rodney's guilt."
Reed's family, lawyer team and supporters celebrated Friday's developments, but warned that their work has not yet been done.
"We can breathe a bit because we were on the wire – a matter of days, just a few days," Rodrick Reed told everyone this is great, that's a big win, but that's just a small battle. This is not the war.
Shortly after the decisions were made, a lawyer went to jail to deliver the news to Reed.