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Texas Matters: Rodney Reed On Death Row, Rural Hospitals In Crisis And Student Loans

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KEN PIORKOWSKI | FLICKR (CC BY-SA 2.0)

On Nov. 20, Rodney Reed is scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas.

Reed was convicted of raping and killing 19-year-old Stacey Stites in 1996 in Bastrop County. Reed said they were in a consensual relationship and maintains his innocence.

A growing number of celebrities and lawmakers are calling on for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to step in and delay the execution while DNA evidence is tested.

Bryce Benjet is Reed's attorney and he works for the Innocence Project.

Murphy Execution Stayed

We have an update on another death row case we’ve been following on Texas Matters – Texas Seven member Patrick Murphy

Murphy was set to be executed on Nov. 13, but on Thursday his execution was once again halted over his religious freedom. Murphy is a Buddhist.

On Thursday a U.S. District judge wrote in his stay that Murphy had demonstrated valid concerns about the Texas Department of Criminal Justices execution policy. Murphy is on death row for his role in the infamous "Texas Seven," prison escape that resulted in the murder of Irving police officer Aubrey Hawkins.

Murphy spoke to Texas Matters in April after his first execution stay when this issue first came to light.

Rural Hospital Crisis

For many of the approximately 3 million Texans living outside the state’s major metropolitan areas – when there is a medical emergency – they are finding fewer places to turn to for help.

Texas Rural Hospitals are in trouble. Many have closed and more are looking at shuttering their doors.

Sophie Novak is a reporter for the Texas Observe along with fellow reporter Christopher Collins they wrote the article “A Dying Town, When a Rural hospital Dies, the Town Around it Follows Suit.”

Student Loan Debt

Higher education a ticket to upward mobility, that’s what we’ve been sold. But paying for high education is also locking more and more Texans into long term crippling debt.

A new study by the Pew Charitable Trust reveals significant shortcomings with the student loan system. Sarah Sattelmeyer is the Pew Charitable Trust’s Student Loans Project Manager. They released a report that examines some of the significant challenges that borrowers face as they navigate the complexities of the student loan repayment system. 

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi