Dr. Phil is tackling one of his most important topics yet this week as he fights on behalf of a man named Rodney Reed who has been on death row for 22 years while proclaiming his own unwavering innocence. Reed has served time for the murder of a 19-year-old bride-to-be named Stacey Stites since 1996 and is scheduled to be executed on November 20th, 2019.
New evidence in the case, which wasn’t available at the time of Reed’s sentencing, seems to corroborate with his innocence plea and Dr. Phil is determined to get that evidence seen before it’s too late. CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke Dr. Phil about the case and what his viewers can do to help.
MW: Dr. Phil, good morning!
Dr. P: Good Morning Matt.
MW: So, quite a serious topic we have to discuss today. We’re going to be talking about Rodney Reed, a man who has been on death row for over 20 years and you actually went to visit him prison and spoke with him. What was it like going there and talking to someone in his situation?
Dr. P: Well Matt, I was asked to get involved in this by Bryce Benjet, who is a lawyer with the Innocence Project and we’re talking about Rodney Reed, he’s been on death row for 22 ½ years. He was convicted of the rape and murder of 19-year-old Stacy Stites in south Texas. Mr. Reed has been sitting there for 22 ½ years waiting to die, he’s been scheduled for execution before, he’s exhausted appeals and now he is set for an execution unless we do something, we, all of us that watch Dr. Phil, unless we do something about this I have no doubt in my mind he will be executed.
I interviewed him on death row, he has not given any other interviews until now. I interviewed him with an eye towards whether he was telling the truth or not. I asked him some questions that he just didn’t know the socially desirable answer to, to see whether he was telling the truth or not and I came away with a very troubled heart. This man is telling the truth when he says he didn’t commit this crime. I then did a really deep dive into the pile, there are four medical scientific experts, that were not available at the time of trial or even during the appeals, DNA experts, forensic experts, that say it is not even possible, in fact it is scientifically impossible that he committed this crime.
They have wrong the man, they are getting ready to execute an innocent man. Matt, I’ve talked to people that have different views about the death penalty, some in favor of it, some not, but I never met anyone that favors killing a man that you’re not 100% sure is guilty of the crime which he has been convicted. We all know that there have been people on death row that have been executed and later exonerated and that’s exactly what’s getting ready to happen here if we don’t do something about it.
MW: You also spoke to his attorney. What information were they able to add to the story and to his assertion that he’s innocent?
Dr. P: Well I talked to attorneys on both sides, in fact I have an attorney on the show today that is 100% convinced that Rodney Reed is guilty. Now he has a reason for that, he has an agenda. Look, the law is that the burden of proof is on the prosecution that you’re innocent until proven guilty. I understand that’s what the law is, that’s not how it really works. How it really works is the jury says, “OK if we’re not down here for the reasons that the prosecutors say we are, then you need to give me an alternative explanation. If Rodney Reed didn’t do this crime, then you need to tell me who did. You need to tell me why we’re down here. Why it’s wrong.”
That’s what I intend to do on Friday. I’m going to give them an alternative explanation, if Rodney Reed didn’t do this crime, I’m going to give them a really good candidate for who did.
MW: It sounds like from talking to you, you truly believe that he is innocent. In order to at east get a stay of execution, what do you feel needs to happen to hold off the execution scheduled for next month?
Dr. P: Well I don’t want a stay of execution, I want a new trial. I want this man to have a fair and full trial, which has never yet happened. And in fact Matt, that’s what he wants. He’s not asking to be turned loose, all he wants is a fair trial, he’s been there for 22 ½ years. I said to him, “Do you want them to open this door and let you out?” He said, ‘No, I don’t. What I want is a fair trial. I want my name cleared. I don’t want them to just turn me loose and say never mind and everybody speculate whether I did it or not. I want a fair trial. I want all of this evidence to come forward. I want people to say not only to say he’s not guilty, I want people to say he’s innocent.” That’s what he wants.
Do I want a stay of execution, yes. I want a stay of execution, so a trial can be scheduled and so this man can present the truth. That’s what needs to happen. So what I want, I want everybody who watches The Dr. Phil Show, I want them to call everybody they know and say stop what you’re doing and watch today and tomorrow because a man’s life hangs in the balance. I’m convinced if we don’t do something about it, this man will be dead in a matter of days.
MW: And if he is innocent that would not only be very tragic for him and his family but for the family of the victim as well.
Dr. P: I have dealt with families that have advocated for the execution of a man and found out after the fact that it was the wrong person. That is not where this family wants to go, they don’t ever get over that. They want to find the right perpetrator here.
MW: Right, justice for both sides is the most important thing of course. Thank you so much Dr. Phil, great talking to you as always and looking forward to the rest of the episodes this week.
Dr. P: Thank you Matt.
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