Kim Kardashian West has added another case to her philanthropic work in criminal justice. Rodney Reed, a Texas man who was imprisoned for murder and was facing the death penalty, had his execution indefinitely suspended, thanks to the support and work of Kardashian West and other celebrities, activists, and lawmakers across aisle. Kardashian West shared a post on Instagram celebrating the moment.
“Today, I had the honor of meeting #RodneyReed in person and the privilege of sitting with him when he got the news that the highest court in Texas had issued a stay of execution and remanded the case back to the trial court for further consideration. Words cannot describe the relief and hope that swept over the room in that moment. That hope had been building over the last few weeks around Rodney’s case,” wrote Kardashian West.
She continued, explaining that the suspension of the execution came thanks to several groups working together, and she thanked the court for contributing to the idea that criminal justice systems should allow for all evidence to be heard, especially cases involving the death penalty.
The Change.org petition for Reed, which was started by Tiffany McMillan, helped promote awareness of the case on social media. So far, the petition has been signed by more than 500,000 people, including other celebrities such as Oprah, Rihanna, Meek Mill, Beyoncé, T.I., LL Cool J, Questlove, former NFL player Reggie Bush, and actor Isaiah Washington. McMillan, a domestic violence advocate and friend of Reed, explained that she hoped the stay of execution would lead to full exoneration.
“It's welcome news that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has recommended delaying Rodney Reed's execution by 120 days. But now Gov. [Greg] Abbott must do the right thing. This precious time will allow Rodney's lawyers to advocate for him to be exonerated, and could prevent an innocent man, my friend, from being executed for a crime he didn't commit,” said McMillan.
Reed, who has maintained his innocence in the case, was convicted of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites in 1996. Several witnesses have come forward with new evidence that implicates Sites’ fiance, Jimmy Fennell, The New York Times reports. The case will be sent back to a trial court in consideration of this new evidence.
In addition to her work with Rodney Reed, Kardashian West has partnered with CNN commentator Van Jones and lawyer Jessica Jackson with advocacy group #cut50. She has so far visited prisons, petitioned governors, and attended meetings at the White House. She is also in a four-year apprenticeship with a law firm and is working to take the bar exam in 2022.
Kardashian West also plans to release a documentary about her prison reform advocacy entitled Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project with the Oxygen network.