It’s as pure a statement about the emptiness of the death penalty as anyone could offer:
“Paul Storey’s execution will not bring our son back, will not atone for the loss of our son and will not bring comfort or closure.”
Those words are from Glenn and Judy Cherry, parents of Jonas Cherry, who was killed by armed robbers Paul Storey and Mike Porter as he begged for his life more than 10 years ago in Hurst.
The two have sent a letter to Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson, Gov. Greg Abbott, state District Judge Robb Catalano and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles arguing that Storey’s death sentence, scheduled to be carried out April 12, should be commuted to life without parole.
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“We are satisfied that Paul Storey remaining in prison until his death will assure that he cannot murder another innocent person in the community, and with this outcome we are satisfied and convinced that lawful retribution is exercised concerning the death of our son,” Glenn and Judy Cherry wrote.
With those thoughtful words, they have shattered the oft-stated arguments for the death penalty.
Many people in their position, and many more who will never be in their position but still want to argue for executions, opt for vengeance. Only the death of a murderer can balance the scales of justice, they say.
But Jonas Cherry’s parents know that his death on the morning of Oct. 16, 2006, at the Hurst Putt-Putt Golf and Games where he was an assistant manager, can never be reversed. Nothing will bring “comfort or closure.”
In fact, nothing would be served by Storey’s execution that would not be served by a sentence of life without parole. The rest of us must be protected, but keeping Storey behind bars assures us “that he cannot murder another innocent person.”
Texas executed seven people last year, the lowest number of executions in the state in two decades. From prosecutors and juries, sentiment for the death penalty has been on the decline since the Legislature authorized sentences of life without parole in 2005.
With more words like those from Glenn and Judy Cherry, perhaps support for the death penalty will one day fade away entirely.