April 12 (UPI) -- A Texas death row inmate's execution, scheduled for Wednesday, was halted after the murder victim's family announced their opposition to the death penalty.
Glenn and Judith Cherry, parents of Jonas Cherry, 28, who was shot to death in 2006 at a Hurst, Texas, miniature golf course, said in a March Facebook posting that they prefer that convicted killer Paul Storey, 32, receive a life sentence instead of the death penalty.
An accomplice to the shooting, Dewayne Porter, pleaded guilty to assisting in the murder and was given a life sentence without parole. Storey was offered the same arrangement, but chose instead to go to trial, where he was convicted in 2008. The Cherry parents now say they were not aware that prosecutors gave Storey the option of pleading guilty and accepting a life sentence. They added that they have long opposed capital punishment, including the time during the trial of their son's killer.
"Paul Storey's execution will not bring our son back, will not atone the loss of our son, and will not bring comfort or closure. 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," the parents stated in the Facebook posting.
A juror at Storey's trial, Sven Berger, further complicated the case when he said he did not fully understand jury instructions, and would have voted differently if he received adequate information. He added that he was unaware his vote alone could have blocked a death penalty sentence.
With the Cherry parents' request for mercy and Berger's comments, Storey's execution was called off, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals retuned his case to a lower court, to make recommendations regarding a new trial and a possible new sentence.