WEST LIVINGSTON, Texas – Rodney Reed seemed remarkably calm for a man possibly days away from execution.
Sitting in a visiting-area cell behind a thick pane of glass, Reed told NBC News that he was doing “as well as to be expected.”
“One day at a time,” Reed said into a telephone receiver, at the Allan B. Polunsky Unit, a prison in West Livingston, Texas. “I’m thinking about family, thinking about my freedom, thinking about my life.”
Reed, 51, was convicted of raping and killing 20-year-old Stacey Stites in April 1996. Her body was found by the side of a remote road in a small town in Central Texas. She was driving to an early morning work shift at a grocery store some 30 miles from home. Stites’ family says she was working extra shifts to help pay for her upcoming wedding to Jimmy Fennell, a police officer.
For about a year, Stites’ murder went unsolved. Reed was arrested and charged when investigators linked him to semen found in the victim’s body. Reed had been under investigation for another alleged sexual assault. When confronted with the DNA match, Reed says he froze and told investigators he did not know Stites.