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New Evidence In Rodney Reed Case

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Nationwide — Rodney Reed, a 51-year old man who was wrongfully convicted of a rape and murder that he did not commit, is scheduled to be executed on November 20th in Texas despite the evidence that confirms his innocence. Several advocates and celebrities such as Beyonce, Rihanna, and Kim Kardashian West have signed a petition to prevent the execution.

In 1996, Reed was accused of killing Stacey Stites, who was then 19-years old. He allegedly kidnapped her before raping and strangling her, leaving her body in a remote area of Bastrop, Texas.

Reed was eventually convicted of rape and murder by an all-white jury in 1998.

However, new evidence that could potentially exonerate him and instead implicate Stites’ fiancé Jimmy Fennell, a local police officer, has emerged.

Reed’s attorneys claimed the prosecution relied on a hunch and inaccurate science, testing recovered DNA against Reed, which became the sole basis of the case. Reed, who initially denied knowing Stites, later admitted that he had a relationship with her and the sperm found inside Stites’ body was because they had consensual sex the day before she was found dead.

Forensic witnesses in the original trial claimed that sperm could not survive for more than a day after sex so prosecutors believed that she was raped by Reed shortly before being murdered. New evidence, however, proved that sperm can stay intact for days after death, confirming that the main evidence linking Reed to her death was wrong as it lacked scientific support.

Additional forensic evidence also pointed toward Fennell. Fingerprints discovered from his pickup truck — which was reportedly used to kidnap Stites — matched only Stites and Fennell.

During the trial, several witnesses could have testified that Fennell found about their affair and threatened Reed, but they weren’t called.

Meanwhile, Fennel, who had a history of violence against women, was sent to jail for kidnapping and sexual assault soon after Rodney was imprisoned. While in jail, Fennel allegedly confessed to killing Stites, according to the affidavit filed by Arthur Snow Jr., a former prison inmate. Snow said he was in jail with Fennel when he said his fiancé had been sleeping around with a Black man behind his back, so he had to kill her.

“Toward the end of the conversation Jimmy said confidently, ‘I had to kill my n****r-loving fiancé,’” Snow wrote. “My impression was that Jimmy felt safe, even proud, sharing this information with me because I was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood. I think Jimmy assumed that his confession would impress me and earn him credibility with the Aryan Brotherhood.”

Over the years, Reed, who has been on death row for 21 years, maintained his innocence. The Innocence Project, an organization that aims to exonerate wrongly convicted people, is representing Reed.

Moreover, Reed has been receiving support from several people, including pastors, police officers, and celebrities. Almost 3 million people have signed the petition calling for Governor Greg Abbott to grant clemency, stop or delay the execution.

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Family Demands Answers

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

BET Docuseries “Copwatch America” Investigates Police Killing of Unarmed Black Teen, Veltavious Griggs

Nationwide — In the latest episode of Copwatch America on BET, Attorney Gerald A. Griggs investigates the case of 19-year old Veltavious Griggs who was shot and killed by Union City Police Officer Jerome Turner on April 1, 2019. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations has stated that Officer Turner was dispatched to a fight. Upon arrival, he began chasing a man that he believed was involved in the fight and was armed. The chase ended with Mr. Griggs fatally shot several times. The only gun recovered from the scene was Officer Turner’s weapon.

In October of 2019, the Law Office of Attorney Gerald A. Griggs received a copy of the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Autopsy report. The report found that Veltavious Griggs “cause of death was a contact gunshot to the head.” The report goes on to say that the manner of the death is still undetermined.

“He was allowed to bleed out in front of his child’s mother’s home for hours. He needed medical attention. I was already very concerned about the nature of the reporting because it did not sound realistic. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office has made it clear that the facts of this investigation do not corroborate her autopsy report. Now we want to know why,” said Attorney Griggs.

“He was a good child. He wanted to be a good father. He loved music. It’s not right for anyone to just take another person’s life. He just started living. He was only 19-years old. They killed him ten days before his birthday,” said Shantrina Griggs, the mother of Veltavious Griggs.

The docuseries will also include the cases of Oscar Caine, Eric Garner, Jamarion Robinson, and Nicholas Bolton. Griggs works alongside Chris “City” Mungin, Yonasda Lonewolf, Shar Bates, and Patrick Newbill.

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Horrific Tragedy

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Missing 3-Year Old Alabama Girl Found Dead in a Trash Bin

Birmingham, AL — The body of 3-year old Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney has been found by Birmingham Police in a trash bin that had been taken at a local landfill 10 days after she was allegedly kidnapped. Police said two suspects will be facing murder charges in connection to the crime.

Police Chief Patrick Smith said they plan to charge Patrick Devone Stallworth, who is 39-years old, and his girlfriend Derick Irisha Brown, who is 29-years old with kidnapping and capital murder. They were initially identified as persons of interest in the case.

Stallworth and Brown have no connection to the family but they were connected to the car that matched the description of the car that was used in the kidnapping. The two have been arrested and are now in custody.

Police said Stallworth was earlier charged with child pornography in a separate case. Brown was previously accused of abducting her three children from DHR custody in 2018.

According to the investigation, Kamille went missing while outside a birthday party on October 12. Surveillance footage on the area showed two children, one believed to be Kamille, playing when they followed a man who approached them until they were out of the view of the camera.

It was not clear how long the girl was dead when her body was found. An autopsy was performed but the cause of death was not declared.

Mayor Randall Woodfin said the girl’s parents were experiencing “unimaginable” pain. He said in a statement, “The perpetrator of this crime will be brought to justice and be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. So tonight Birmingham we mourn as one, please uplift this family. Uplift your own families. Hold your loved ones tighter.”

Governor Kay Ivey also extended her condolences to the family. In a statement, she said, “The heart of our state is broken, but we must do all we can to avoid this happening to another family. Our prayers remain with Kamille’s family and all who have been touched by this nightmare.”

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Neighbor Regrets Calling Police

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Fort Worth, TX — James Smith, a man from Dallas who called the police because he was worried about his neighbor, Atatiana Jefferson, now says he regrets doing so. Sadly, when the police arrived to her home to help, they shot and killed her instead. At that time, she was playing video games with her nephew inside their home.

Smith said he noticed that day around 2 a.m. that Jefferson’s lights were on and her door was open. He got worried because it was not usual for them so he called a non-emergency police number to request a welfare check to make sure they were safe.

“I’m calling about my neighbor,” Smith can be heard telling police during the call in a recording released by the Forth Worth police department. “It’s not normal for them to have both of the doors open this time of night.”

According to the department’s statement, police arrived in Jefferson’s house a few minutes after the call and found a person standing inside near a window.

A white police officer, who was seen on a body camera footage looking into the bedroom window, then shouted, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” before firing a shot.

“I’m shaken. I’m mad. I’m upset. And I feel it’s partly my fault,” Smith told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. “If I had never dialed the police department, she’d still be alive.”

Smith said that the terrible incident has shaken his trust in the police.

“They tell you, ‘If you see something, say something… Well, if you do that and it costs somebody to lose their life, it makes you not want to do that. And that’s sad,” he said.

Jefferson, a 28-year old woman, was a graduate of the Xavier University of Louisiana in 2014 with a degree in biology. She was living with his 8-year old nephew, whom she was playing video games with when the incident happened.

GoFundMe page has been set up to support her family with funeral costs and other expenses. It has so far exceeded the $200,000 goal.

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