ABC’s ’20/20: Rodney Reed on Death Row’ examines the 1996 rape and murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites in Bastrop, Texas, along with its subsequent investigations and how it recently turned into a controversy. During this special two-hour edition of the show, the primary focus is on Rodney Reed and how his alleged innocence resulted in a stay of execution last year following a public outcry. And as we see in the episode, Rodney is not alone as he fights to clear his name and overturn his conviction – his entire family is right there with him. So, let’s find out more about them, shall we?
Who Is Rodney Reed’s Family?
Rodney Reed is the son of Walter Reed, an Air Force veteran, and Sandra Reed, a nurse. He grew up as one of seven brothers and attended Hirschi High School in Wichita Falls, Texas. And although he was always close to his family, he could have never expected the lengths that they would go to support him and each other. After all, ever since Rodney’s arrest and subsequent conviction in Stacey’s case, they have stood right beside him, maintaining his innocence just as vigorously as he has. And Sandra, his mother, along with one of his brothers, Rodrick, have been the public faces for the family.
In a rally that was held in support of Rodney in late 2019, Rodrick clarified that their mother has been speaking up against her son’s imprisonment since day one. He, on the other hand, has been working at it “for about 17, almost 18 years.” The entire family, though, including every single brother, Rodrick says, is part of the process. The only difference is that they prefer to function away from the spotlight and just focus on their goal. For the Reed family, two public faces to show support are enough. The rest of them act as the invisible forces that back everything up. Their blood means everything to them.
Where Is Rodney Reed’s Family Now?
Rodney Reed’s family is primarily based in Bastrop, Texas, where they work to keep their family intact and to get their missing member the justice they think he deserves. Together, they have launched the Reed Justice Initiative, an organization that they hope will make a difference for Rodney, and for many others. They stand in solidarity with other families whose loved ones have been wrongfully convicted and advocate alongside several death-penalty abolitionist organizations to see some change. The idea for this actually came to Rodrick when he was visiting Rodney in prison, and his brother suggested that he do something to connect and empower others.
The Reed family organizes various rallies to oppose Rodney’s incarceration, abolish the death penalty, and share their story. And for all this, platforms like Rodney Reed Innocent, Justice For Rodney Reed, and We Demand Justice: Free Rodney Reed have also been created. Last year, when the support that they garnered, including from Kim Kardashian West, resulted in the stay of execution for Rodney, they couldn’t be happier. “We yearn to be whole again, our family,” Rodrick said. “We’re looking forward to the day when we can just sit down at the dinner table, pray together and eat together as a normal family should. We’re yearning for the day when all this has been put behind us.”
Read More: Where Is Stacey Stites’ Mother Now?