Kevin Gannon, a retired detective sergeant with the New York Police Department, spent just 10 minutes looking at official documents related to the case of Rodney Reed — slated for execution in Texas on March 5 — before concluding that something was very, very wrong.
It was October 2014 and Gannon was working as part of a three-cop team featured on the A&E channel true-crime show Dead Again. The program follows the trio of veteran detectives as they reinvestigate old murder cases. The team approaches the cases cold, not knowing what original police investigators concluded — or who was arrested and prosecuted in the end. Sometimes, Gannon says, he and his colleagues end up agreeing with the official outcome. Sometimes, they do not.
In this case, the investigators were probing the 1996 murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites in a rural town in Central Texas. Gannon was given the autopsy report, crime scene photos and video, and police reports. “The first thing I remember [thinking] is, ‘Oh my god, this is way off,’” he told The Intercept. “I knew it was wrong.” He went to talk to his producer and, by 7 p.m. that night, was sitting across from Reed’s Innocence Project lawyer, Bryce Benjet. Today, Gannon is among a number of people who are convinced the state of Texas is preparing to execute an innocent man.