The killer of an assistant manager of a Putt-Putt golf park in Hurst was back in court Monday, as his attorneys launched an argument they hope will save his life.
Paul Storey, 32, of Fort Worth received the death penalty for the 2006 murder of Jonas Cherry, who begged for his life before he was shot to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in April granted Storey a stay of execution.
The district court hearing that began Monday morning is to determine whether defense attorneys were notified by prosecutors during Storey’s 2008 trial that Cherry’s parents were against the death penalty at that time.
Jonas Cherry was Glenn and Judy Cherrys’ only child.
“Judith and Glenn Cherry did not want death for Mr. Storey,” an affidavit from the parents stated. “Unknown to the jury and contrary to the state’s argument, they stood with the family members who pleaded for the jury to spare Mr. Storey’s life.”
But prosecutors have said that while the Cherrys were generally opposed to the death penalty, they were in agreement at the time of the 2008 trial that Storey should be executed because he had refused to accept a plea bargain for life without parole.
Former assistant district attorneys Christy Jack and Robert Foran testified repeatedly Monday that lawyers for Storey and his accomplice, Mark Porter, were told that Cherry’s parents were against the death penalty. Foran and Jack are no longer with the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.
The hearing is before Judge Everett Young. Attorneys Mike Ware and Keith Hampton represent Storey, who sat quietly in the courtroom Monday and didn’t speak to his lawyers.
Attorneys Travis Bragg, Matthew Ottoway and Rachel Patton from the state’s attorney general’s office are the representatives for the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.
Jack was questioned for most of the day by Ware, who repeatedly focused on the Cherrys’ opposition to the death penalty.
Cherry was at Putt-Putt Golf and Games, a highly visible location across Texas 121/Loop 820 from North East Mall in Hurst.
It was about 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 16, 2006, when Storey and Mark Porter stood over Cherry, who pleaded: “Please! I gave you what you want. Don’t hurt me.” They refused, shot him twice in the head and twice in his legs and fled with $200 to $700.
Cherry, who was approaching his first wedding anniversary, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Storey and Porter were convicted of capital murder, but only Storey got the death penalty. Porter got life without parole after making a deal with the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.
Testimony will resume Tuesday.
This report contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.