Texas’ top appeals court on Friday halted the scheduled execution of inmate Rodney Reed, whose conviction is being questioned by new evidence that his supporters say raises serious doubt about his guilt. The stay of execution issued Friday afternoon by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals came just hours after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended delaying the lethal injection. The parole board unanimously recommended a 120-day reprieve for Reed, the AP reports. The board rejected Reed’s request to commute his sentence to life in prison. The 51-year-old Reed had been scheduled to be executed Wednesday evening for the 1996 killing of 19-year-old Stacey Stites.
"We are extremely relieved and thankful" for the stay, Reed's lawyer said, per the Washington Post. Bryce Benjet said in the statement that the court's decision "will allow for proper consideration of the powerful and mounting new evidence of Mr. Reed’s innocence." He said another lawyer was on the way to prison to tell Reed of the reprieve. (Celebrities took up Reed's cause.)