Linda’s encounter with Reed was November 9/10, 1996. He was arrested a few months later, and Linda identified him. He could also have been tried for attacking her, but again, the authorities seemed to think such a prosecution superfluous when his DNA matched the man who had raped Stacey. They will probably think again next time they arrest someone like Reed.
Initially, Reed denied knowing Stacey, but when he was informed of the presence of his semen in her body he changed his story, claiming they’d been having a secret affair. If he had made that claim from the out, he might conceivably have gotten away with this too; he must have known there would be forensics against him. Fortunately Reed is stupid as well as evil.
Over the years, Reed’s supporters have come up with supposedly fresh evidence that he did not or could not have committed the crime. This type of evidence is routinely rejected by appellate courts, and for good reason. If OJ Simpson had been convicted of that well publicised 1994 double murder, ten years later he could probably have found half a dozen people to swear he was playing poker with the boys on the other side of town at the material time. None of these new witnesses has any credibility, but in 2007, Jimmy Fennell raped a woman while on duty, a crime for which he received a heavy sentence.
Fennell had initially been a suspect in Stacey’s murder. There is nothing unusual about this: family, friends, workmates and neighbours are always suspects when a murder is not followed by an immediate arrest. Usually, they are eliminated fairly quickly, but for some reason Fennell was regarded as the prime suspect, in spite of his imminent marriage to Stacey. Prosecutor Lisa Tanner told KVUE she tried to connect him to the murder, but there was no way she could. Stacey’s older sister was and is still 100% certain of Fennell’s innocence. Fennell is said to have failed or to have been found to have been deceptive on two polygraph tests, but polygraphs are junk science; they are used regularly to intimidate suspects into confessing, and to unsettle rape complainants (who frequently lie). Green River Killer Gary Ridgway passed a polygraph with flying colours.
Talking of lying, Reed’s family are doing just that when they claim his murder of Stacey Stites would be out of character. Others, including the Innocence Project, are allowing themselves to be wilfully deceived, and are wasting precious resources that could be used to exonerate real victims of miscarriage of justice. Although Reed’s execution has now been put on hold, the chances of him ever walking the streets again are somewhere between zero and minus one. As long as he never does, we should be happy with that.