HOUSTON — A Texas death row inmate who has long maintained his innocence in the death of a woman 23 years ago was mere days away from his execution on Friday when an appeals court suspends his death sentence indefinitely.
The moving decision by the Court of Criminal Appeals in Texas blocked the execution of the prisoner, Rodney Reed, and directed the court where he was originally judged to admit new evidence in the case, including testimony from eyewitnesses who have come forward in recent months pointing toward the victim’s fiancé as another suspect.
The court’s ruling came merely hours after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles had also supported halting the execution and recommended that Gov. Greg Abbott grant a 120-day reprieve for Mr. Reed, 51, one of 215 prisoners on Texas’ death row.
By imparting the indefinite stay and assigning the case back to a trial court, the Texas appeals court — the highest criminal court in the state — presented Mr. Reed’s defense team an extensive triumph.