On the evening of November 14th, death row exonerees Kirk Bloodsworth and Shujaa Graham were with the family of Rodney Reed at a Supreme Court vigil. They were praying for a stay of execution and telling the nation why the death penalty must be abolished. Twenty-four hours later, they received the welcome news that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had granted a stay of execution and directed the district court to review Rodney’s innocence claims.
The entire Witness to Innocence family breathed a huge sigh of relief. We have sat on death row. We have had our innocence denied. We have faced execution dates. The fight for Rodney's life is a continuation of our own battles to survive death row.
Just hours after the stay of execution, death row exoneree Juan Melendez spoke on a radio show that aired inside Texas prisons. He shared a message of encouragement, that Rodney, and everyone on death row in Texas, are not forgotten by Witness to Innocence - “We know what you are going through and we are fighting for you.”
The death penalty is a torturous weight upon anyone sitting in that cell, innocent or guilty. Together, we can, and we must, bring it to an end.