Man on death row gets stay of execution due to request from victim's parents
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Fort Worth man on death row received a stay of execution on Friday because his victim's parents didn’t want him to die.
Jonas Cherry, 28, was murdered during a robbery at a Putt-Putt Golf in Hurst 10 years ago. Paul David Storey claimed he wasn't the triggerman.
Storey’s accomplice took a plea bargain for life in prison, but Storey took his chances with a trial and got the death penalty.
The victim's parents, Glenn and Judy Cherry, made a video expressing their wish for the execution of Storey to be halted to Governor Abbott and Tarrant County District Attorney Sharon Wilson.
“"We absolutely do not want Paul Storey to be executed for the murder of our son,” Judy said.
The Cherrys traveled to Austin on Thursday to meet with the board of pardons and paroles. On Friday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay of execution.
Defense attorney Mike Ware filed the court document that prompted a judge to issue the stay.
“I've had to pass on so much bad news to his mother,” he said. “It was nice to have a little bit of good news to be able to impart on his mother."
Along with the Cherrys' plea was a claim from Ware accusing prosecutors at the time of misconduct regarding the family's strong opposition to the death penalty.
"That is information that the trial lawyers and the defense lawyers say was never revealed or disclosed to them even though it was known to prosecutors,” he said.
A Fort Worth judge will now hold a hearing on arguments for the stay from Storey's attorney, and that could take weeks or months. The goal for the Cherry’s is to get Storey off death row in exchange for a life sentence without parole.
Marilyn Grant, Storey’s mother, feels she's in a dream with new hope but knows if Storey's sentence isn't changed to life in prison -- she may still wake up to the nightmare.
“Whether or not my son's life is saved or if he's executed -- I am never going to forget the effort they put in to save his life, never,” she said.
Grant says she knows nothing is certain yet on her son's future.
"Every day I can share and spend time with him is a blessing,” she said. “I am grateful for what I got. I don't know how much more time I've got, but I'm going to take it and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it."
The Tarrant County District Attorney’s office has been recused from Storey's case because his former defense attorney now works as a prosecutor.
A special prosecutor has been assigned from the state attorney general's office, and they'll handle anything involving the stay until it's resolved.