this is "nightline," tonight, breaking news, the u.s. green lighting the first covid-19 vaccine. >> today, our nation as achieved a mill miracle. >> who will be getting the shots first? what we are learning about the emergency authorization. plus, sentenced to death. the black man convicted of kill canning a bride to be, now the jailhouse interview. >> i have to accept that, i'm here now. er for something that i didn't do. >> why celebrities like kim kardashian west are fighting for his freedom. the victim's family fighting back. >> what you are upset the most about? >> the lies told about her. >> convinced the right man is on
death row. >> "nightline," will be right back. so try making it smaller, and you'll be surprised at how easily starting small can lead to something big. start stopping with nicorette. starting small pepto bismol coats and soothes your stomach for fast reliefg. ♪ and get the same fast relief in a delightful chew with pepto bismol chews.
the we have to find just nosomething else.it. good luck! what does that mean? we are doomed. [laughter] that's it. i figured it out! we're going to give togetherness. that sounds dumb. we're going to take all those family moments and package them. hmm. [laughing] that works. snet ♪ ♪ good evening, thank you for joining us, we begin with breaking news, the fda giving the go ahead to pfizer's covid-19 vaccine. granting emergency use authorization as america suffers the deadly estimate week of the pandemic. the country nearing 300,000 deaths t goal now distributing the vaccines in all 50 states within 48 hours.
the president releasing a statement late tonight. >> we want our senior citizens, health care workers and first responders to be first in line. this will quickly and dramatically reduce deaths and hospitalizations. in the vaccine will be free to all americans. we turn now to capitol punishment, the high profile execution of brendan bernard, a man convicted for his involvement in a double murder. putting the death penalty in the spotlight. now support growing for another death row inmate, attracting the attention of big stars for what they say is injustice. this as the victim's family mourns the loss of a loved one gone for more than 20 years. ♪ this as the victim's family mourns the loss of a loved one gone for more than 20 years. ♪ >> there are very few markers, and this one to be a young girl
was active in her church, this would be the last person most people would believe would be involved in crime. i think it's pretty hard for an african-american man to be accused of raping and murdering a white woman in the state of texas, be found guilty and not receive the death penalty. >> this rodney reed conviction circumstan circus that continues is an absurd fiasco. >> it's a typical small texas town. >> interracial dating in the town in the 90s exited but it was something that was hidden and it was dangerous. >> this morning, 19-year-old stacy lee stykes was reported
missing. >> family members came from all corners of texas to comfort the mother, she lost her youngest, stacy lee. >> she had her plans and now somebody has taken that away. >> i think you just about got it. >> where am i? >> yeah. >> grab hold? >> got to go? >> it's been 24 years that you lost your daughter, stacy. >> yep, that soul was more precious to me than mine. >> i was friends with stacy in high school. and she was funny. she was always cracking jokes. she didn't really take a lot of things seriously. she was always in the moment. she was looking for what everyone does, young love. >> go away. >> every year, smithwell has their jamb orie, that is where she met jimmy. >> that's the picture of her and him, that was at his graduatation, when he became a policeman. >> stacy moved in with jimmy in
his apartment up stairs and carol lived in the same building down stairs. >> they moved in together, and they said, we are engaged, we are getting married. she was wanting to make more money for her wedding and went in to hebs grocery company and they gave her her job in the produce department. and so, stacy had to be at work early in the morning. there was excitement in the beginning, and i think that she started seeing sides of jimmy that he was very possessive and it was kind of his way or no way. and i don't know that she was necessarily comfortable with that. so, i think that they started butting heads. she didn't share any concerns that she was really excited about getting married. >> do you remember that night? >> it was normal every ever day evening stuff. >> we know that jimmy was at little league practice from around 5:00 in the evening, at
around 8:00 p.m., carol saw jimmy come home from little league practice. >> carol saw gjimmy and stacy meet outside and have an embrace outside her window. >> the narrative that jimmy provides that they were home for a good part of the evening and they are sort of getting along great and then she goes to bed and he stays up and watchi ines. >> we knew stacy left her home at approximately 3:00 a.m., and drove jimmy's truck as she often did, her normal route to work was on highway 21. >> stacy is not one to be late to work. that is the first sign that something is wrong. >> they found the red truck by the high school at about 5:23 that morning. a patrol officer come across it. >> roughly an hour later, about
6:45 in the morning carol gets a phone call from the grocery store, wondering where stacy is, she has not shown up. >> i called jimmy and he said, okay, i will be down in a minute. >> did you suspect something was wrong, immediately? >> no, i thought maybe his truck broke down or something. >> my name is david bored, i worked as a detective for the police department at the time of stacy's disappearance. her pickup truck was at the high school. so, i responded there, were -- we suspected foul play. >> stacy'ses body is not discovered until 3:30 that afternoon. along side of a dirt road kind of out in the county. the way she was clothed, how her zipper was broken from being pulled apart, about all of the
things that told us this was a classic rape cases. >> stacy was strangled to death. >> the only prints that they were able to lift from the inside of the truck that were readable prints were stacy's and jimmy's, and yet, since that was his truck, his fingerprint being in the truck is not evidence of him perpetrating the crime. >> jimmy was absolutely considered a suspect. any time a woman is murdered, the significant other is and should be one of the prime suspects. >> it's hard being the finger pointed at you, it's hard to have them say, yeah, you killed it, your fiance, and you did it for these reasons or these reasons. you know, i kept in my mind that i didn't do it. >> what led them to eliminate jimmy? >> because of the logistic problems. >> his truck was found in
basdrop and he was home 30 miles away. they could not figure out how he could have gotten back home. >> jimmy himself has always insisted that he is innocent. >> they throughly vetted all the evidence they have, and they cleared him. stacy's murder goes unsolved for nearly year. the cops are looking at jimmy. and maybe in a couple of other directions but nothing is really happening. >> they started to lack ook at r on fenders in the area. linda was a woman who was 19 who was abducted and beaten. the person she aaccuses of committing the offense is a man named rodney reed. mr.reed was arrested and later, he was released without posting a bond he was just released, rodney resurfaced as a suspect
wholly and exclusively because he tried to abduct linda six months after stacy's murder, and a detective told the ranger about the case and the ranger said, oh, my god that sounds like the stites case. >> they did have a sample of rodney reed's dna in the system is. >> it was a match. they found that rodney reed's dna is identical to the dna evidence recovered from stacy's body. so, they basically get rodney in to the police station on a drug related charge. but it all seems pretty much kind of a ruse, in order to ask him about stacy. >> i would to push it off to the side, you know i'm one of the investigators on the stacy stites murder, i want to know from you, if you know the girl, if you do, when did you meet her, do you know who she is?
>> i don't know a stacy stites. >> i heard the stuff on the news, and stuff like that, never knew that person. >> never dated her? >> no, i haven't. >> it was only after they matched the dna to somebody that they dropped jimmy as a suspect. >> rodney reed was charged with sexual sougassault, kidnapping murder of stacy stites, it became a death penalty case. >> the case is about to draw big attention to the small town. >> you have high profile names coming to his defense now. >> and sparked what many believe will be a long road to justice. >> something's off here. something needs to be done. "hel"" sore throat pain? try new vicks vapocool drops in honey lemon chill for a fast-acting rush of relief like you've never tasted in... ♪ honey lemon ahh woo vicks vapocool drops now in honey lemon chill
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♪ this morning the investigators charged 29-year-old rodney reed of bastrop of capital murder in the deg of stacy stites. >> he run ins with the law. he was not a choir boy. >> he had told me, mama i'm dating a girl and she is engaged to a cop. >> there's never been evidence whatsoever that there was any type of relationship. >> i went out to meet rodney. i knew that he initially denied knowing stacy. >> rodney stated that he and stacy were having sex. it was not boyfriend girlfriend, it was purely sexual. he was away -- he wasss
he was a black man having haviig with a white girl in bastrop and said he was afraid. >> at that time, the court appointed calvin garvey and lydia clay jackson. >> the state had two years to investigate the case, we had two months to prepare. >> in the opening statements, the prosecution made it clear that the dna was really the heart of their case. >> in front of an all white jury, prosecutor lisa tanner began her opening arguments. >> rodney reed, either jumped in her truck or talked his way in to her truck. >> we believe from there, that rodney reed raped her and strangled her. >> the lynch pin of the case for them was that they had rodney reed's dna inside stacy stites. >> the weakness in the defense's case, is after they told the
jury they were going to show evidence of the affair, they were not able to produce witnesses to testify about it. >> after less than a day of deliberating, all of the 12 jurors came back unanimously and they decided that rodney reed was guilty of the capital murder of stacy stites. >> during the punishment phase the prosecution can bring up anything about your background prior bad acts, accusations, things that have not even been proved in court to try to convince the jury that you deserve death. >> the lawyers for the state bring in allegations that they say he was guilty of, but never was charged with. >> it's taking a toll out of
your client when he says, no, he did not do that. >> the jury deliberated five hours and delivered a death sentence for the murder of stacy stites. >> it's devastating news for one family. >> they got a capital murder out of the keel and that's what they wanted. >> news of justice and relief for another. >> i'm really glad that justice was served and that the system really does work. >> what's going on with jimmy? well, he is moved on to another police department. up in georgetown, it's north of austin. >> in 2007, about ten years after stacy stites murder, it appears that her former fiance, officer jimmy finnel is under investigation by the texas rangers. >> jimmy finnel junior faces charges of sexual sought, kidnapping and improper sexual activity with a person in
custody. >> he plead guilty to a count of kidnaps and improper sexual relations with the person in custody. he was sentenced to ten years in prison. >> while jimmy served ten years, rodney reed goes to death row. >> rodney reed is working on his appeals and a group called the innocence project starts assisting rodney reed. >> it doesn't take a village, it takes an army. >> alicia slater is a witness that worked with stacy who has come forward talking about the relationship that existed between rodney reed and stacy stites. ♪ >> she told me that she was not that excited to get married because she was sleeping with a black guy named rodney. >> hin a 2016 filing said that her statement was unbelievable and she failed to mention the secret affair when she spoke to
police at the time of the murder. >> when you look at the actual police reports of the investigation, there was a lot of mistakes early on. >> what did the state get wrong as far as you are concerned about her death? >> time of the death was way off. it was hours earlier. all that shows that this homicide occurred hours before 3:00 a.m. in a time that she was just with jimmy. >> if she is killed at midnight and not 3:00 a.m., and rodney reed is excluded as the killer. >> so according to the defense's legal filings the perpetrator then is jimmy finnel, he said that he was in the apartment with her that night. >> no, not based on any of the credible evidence or physical evidence or forensic evidence. it's a concoction of creative brilliant lawyers trying to save a condemned man. >> earlier this week, attorneys for reed sent a new letter to the governor to ask for a delay
in the execution. >> i traveled to texas and sit down with reed on death row. >> you are sitting here with me and the clock is ticking. >> yes. >> you are set to be executed? >> i hope not, but yes. i have to accept that. i am here now. for something that i didn't do. >> free rodney reed, free rodney reed. >> we had unprecedented support. i don't know if it's social media coverage or media coverage, but just the closer we got the louder the noise. >> something's off here, something needs to be done. and an indefinite stay of execution. the hearing coming up keeps on getting postponed because of covid-19. then the more you look at the forensic pathology and the science, it's clear and convincing evidence of innocence. >> i have no doubt about his guilt. >> i have to hold on to my faith and stand on this
and tahank the world, i thank te world for the support. >> what upsets you most? >> trying to defend my sister. >> and the lies told about her. the only reason i'm doing this right now, i think we really have a shot at getting this across that stacy was human and all she wanted to on do was get married and have a baby. but some things are too serious to be ignored. if you still have symptoms of crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis even after trying other medications, it may be a sign of damaging inflammation, which left untreated, could get much worse. please make an appointment to see your gastroenterologist right away. or connect with them online. once you do, seeing the doctor is one less thing to worry about. need help finding a doctor? head to crohnsandcolitis.com
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