Kim Kardashian is speaking out about her latest legal efforts after bringing widespread attention to the case of Rodney Reed, and ultimately helping in the decision to put his execution on hold.
“It was extremely emotional and he said, ‘Praise Jesus,’” Kardashian said of Reed’s reaction to the news while talking with Jenna Bush Hager in an interview with Today. “And he said it so just, I could just feel his soul when he said that.”
The 51-year-old was found guilty of the abduction, rape and murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites in 1996, although he has maintained his innocence ever since. Just days before his execution by lethal injection, which was set to happen Wednesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed to halt the execution indefinitely based on claims of new evidence in the case. The decision was partly because of Kardashian’s help in elevating the case and the necessity to review all existing evidence after finding out about Reed on Twitter.
In October, Kardashian tweeted at Texas Governor Greg Abbott urging him “to do the right thing.” She assured Bush Hager that she did the correct research before bringing that attention to the case.
PLEASE @GovAbbott How can you execute a man when since his trial, substantial evidence that would exonerate Rodney Reed has come forward and even implicates the other person of interest. I URGE YOU TO DO THE RIGHT THING.— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) October 19, 2019
“I will usually go to length of speaking with either the person or their family members and my group of attorneys before I do something like that,” Kardashian explained. “I really am strategic when I am tweeting about someone’s life. You know, sometimes I think attention could help. I never want to do anything if I feel like it can hinder a case.”
In this particular case, Kardashian said that the public attention luckily led to widespread support.
“The most amazing thing I saw that came from this case was the bipartisan support. I mean you had everyone from Ted Cruz to Shaun King on this case and really setting up petitions where millions of people signed them, and they say that it takes a village, but it really takes a country,” she said. “And it showed in this case.”
Petitions on both freerodneyreed.com and Change.org have acquired over 3 million signatures total. Celebrities like Rihanna and Meek Mill have also taken to their Twitter accounts to call for the delay of Reed’s execution. Beyoncé even posted a statement urging Gov. Abbott to “Be honest. Be fair.” on her website.
Still, Kardashian acknowledged the pain of the Stites’ family since the case is so public.
“I’m completely sympathetic,” she said. “When I think about a victim’s family, I always think, well what would I do? And I would want to know through evidence, through DNA evidence, that all of the facts were completely accurate.”
The new evidence that Kardashian and other Texas lawmakers are bringing to the government’s attention includes witness statements in favor of Reed’s innocence. Kardashian explained that it’s important for all of it to be considered, especially for the sake of her children being able to grow up in a world “as safe and as fair as possible.”
“When you become a mom, you become so protective. You want to hopefully make their world the most perfect place ever, and ours obviously isn’t. And I definitely see how, especially like black men are treated in this country, still differently. And I’m raising two black men,” she said, referring to her two sons with husband Kanye West, Saint, 3, and Psalm, 6 months.
And while she’s studying to become a lawyer, Kardashian has already expressed her gratitude about the journey that she’s on and how it all started with Alice Johnson.
“Alice found me and we were supposed to be on this journey together,” she said. “It’s just been such a journey that I didn’t ever imagine I would be on. But I’m so glad that I am, and I just love that we’ve been able to just get a lot of work done and I just don’t want to stop that.”
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