The parents of a Putt-Putt assistant manager killed in 2006 told a judge Tuesday they are still against the death penalty even though their son’s killer received it.
Paul Storey, 32, of Fort Worth received the death penalty for the 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.
A district court hearing continued Tuesday to determine whether defense attorneys were notified by prosecutors during Storey’s 2008 trial that Cherry’s parents were against the death penalty.
“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.”
“I’ve always thought that way,” Judith Cherry, the mother of Jonas Cherry, testified Tuesday. “Yes, it stayed that way even after my son’s murder because I did not want to change my values on that. We were told because [Jonas Cherry’s widow] was next-of-kin, her opinion carried more weight.”
Storey, who was dressed in a red Tarrant County Jail outfit and sat by his attorneys Mike Ware and Keith Hampton, fought back tears Tuesday afternoon as Judith Cherry testified she didn’t want him to be executed.
Attorneys Travis Bragg, Matthew Ottoway and Rachel Patton from the state attorney general’s office represented the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.
Three defense attorneys in the case at the time — Larry Moore, Mark Daniel and Tim Moore — testified Tuesday they were never told by former Tarrant County assistant district attorneys Robert Foran and Christy Jack about Cherry’s parents opposing the death penalty.
Defense attorney William “Bill” Ray testified that he couldn’t say if he was told. Daniel and Tim Moore represented Storey’s accomplice, Mark Porter, in the 2008 trial. Larry Moore and Ray represented Storey.
“But if I had known, I would have tried to get the state to waive the death penalty,” Ray testified.
Larry Moore, who is now with the Tarrant County district attorney’s office, testified that he didn’t learn that the Cherrys opposed the death penalty until this year.
“I was shocked and surprised,” Moore said when asked how he felt when he heard. “My opinion has changed considerably about [Jack]. My concerns are about her candor.”
He noted that, had he known, he could have raised objections during Jack’s closing argument in Storey’s trial when she told jurors the Cherry family believed the death penalty was appropriate.
State District Judge Mollee Westfall, U.S. Magistrate Jeffrey Cureton and Letty Martinez, a partner at Varghese Summersett, testified Tuesday afternoon that Jack was a credible and truthful attorney.
Jack and Foran testified repeatedly Monday that lawyers for Storey and Porter were told that Cherry’s parents were against the death penalty.
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.
On Monday, Bragg introduced a card from the Cherrys to Foran and Jack, thanking them for their work on the case and their “professionalism.”
Jonas Cherry was at Putt-Putt Golf and Games, across Texas 121/Loop 820 from North East Mall in Hurst.
Shortly before 9 a.m. on Oct. 16, 2006, Storey and 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.
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 district attorney’s office.
The hearing recessed Tuesday, and more testimony is pending sometime in the next few weeks. After the conclusion of testimony, a decision could take weeks or months, according to attorneys on Tuesday.
This report contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.