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US politicians, celebrities and members of the public joined forces today in a bid to save an apparently innocent black man from death row.
More than a dozen Republicans wrote to Texas Governor Greg Abbott to say that getting it wrong with Rodney Reed could “erode public trust — not only in capital punishment, but in Texas justice itself.”
Mr Reed says he was wrongfully convicted by an all-white jury of raping and strangling 19-year-old Stacy Stites nearly 30 years ago.
His lawyers are continuing to push for a retrial just a week before his scheduled execution.
A petition supporting his claim has been signed by more than 480,000 people and endorsed by celebrities such as singer Beyonce, actor Susan Sarandon and media personality Kim Kardashian-West.
Mr Reed’s lawyers have presented testimonies and evidence to support his claim that Stites was killed by her fiance, former police officer Jimmy Fennell.
Mr Fennell was allegedly angry after discovering that his white partner was having an affair with a black man.
If his appeal is not granted by Mr Abbott, who previously referred to the death penalty as “Texas justice,” Mr Reed will be executed on November 20.
Mr Reed said: “One thing that I really missed was really being a father to my kids — and having an opportunity to be grandfather to my grandchildren.
“I just look forward to being out there with my family, with my friends, with my loved ones with my supporters.”
Mr Reed’s lawyer Bryce Benjet told Time magazine: “I don’t think you can ignore the role that racism plays in our criminal justice system.
“In a rural part of Texas, the accusation of a black man raping a white woman is essentially a charge.”
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