AUSTIN, Texas (CBS HOUSTON/AP) — Attorneys for a convicted killer facing execution next month for the slaying of a 19-year-old Central Texas woman almost two decades ago are contending new reviews of forensic evidence support the prisoner’s long-held claims of innocence.

Forty-seven-year-old Rodney Reed is set to die March 5 for the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites. Her body was found off a Bastrop County road after she failed to report to work at a grocery store.

“The additional evidence that we have submitted, along with this application, actually establishes that Mr. Reed and Ms. Stites had an intimate relationship of their own at the time Ms. Stites was killed which further undermines the states position that Ms. Stites was raped,” said Andrew MacRae, one of Reed’s attorneys, as reported by KEYE-TV. “There is evidence in support of this position that any contact between Mr. Reed and Ms. Stites was consensual.”

An appeal Thursday to Reed’s trial court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals says the original medical examiner has changed his opinion on when Stites died and three other coroners also dispute the original findings.

The appeal also renews claims Stites’ fiance, a former police officer now in prison, was responsible for her death.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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