Death row inmate Rodney Reed has maintained for more than two decades that he is innocent of the 1996 rape and strangulation of 19-year-old Stacey Stites. Reed, who claims he had a sexual relationship with Stites, has exhausted all appeals. He is scheduled to be put to death on November 20, 2019.

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During Reed’s original trial, the prosecution presented DNA evidence found on Stacey Stites’s body, which they claimed linked him to sexual assault and her murder. Reed insists he neither raped nor strangled Stacey.

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Retired NYPD Detective Sergeant Kevin Gannon, who has been re-investigating the case since 2014, disputes the official cause of Stacey Stites’s death.

“Her hyoid bone should have been ruptured. Her larynx should have had some kind of damage," says Gannon noting that the damage that would be expected in a strangling death was not stated in the autopsy report.

Continuing, he says, "But the first thing that should have occurred - when someone is strangling somebody – is the petechiae in the eyes, the little blood vessels should burst. She doesn’t even have that." Gannon says he believes Stacey was not strangled, but drowned.

In part one of a two-part Dr. Phil airing Thursday, Detective Sergeant Gannon along with Victimologist Dr. Lee Gilbertson join with Rodney Reed’s attorney Bryce Benjet of the Innocence Project to discuss why they believe the theory of how Stacey died was wrong, why they claim the crime scene was staged, and why they assert Rodney Reed is innocent of murder.

Watch more from this two-part Dr. Phil airing Thursday and Friday  Check here to find your local listing.

If you stand with the Innocence Project and want to stop Rodney Reed’s execution on November 20th, go to 
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This program contains graphic discussions about a criminal case. Viewer discretion is advised.


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