AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The state's top criminal appeals court Friday ordered a halt, at least temporarily, to the scheduled execution of a North Texas man for the killing of a suburban Fort Worth amusement center manager during a 2006 robbery.
With one dissenting vote, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered the state to hold off putting Paul David Storey to death until the trial court can review whether he received a fair trial. Storey was slated to be executed Wednesday.
Jonas Cherry, 28, was an assistant manager at a Putt-Putt mini-golf center in Hurst. Evidence showed $150 was taken in the October 2006 robbery, and that Storey previously worked there.
Storey's attorney had argued that his capital murder conviction and sentence were tainted by prosecutorial misconduct. The appeals court has directed the trial court to investigate the claims and report back.
Storey's attorney, Michael Ware, said the appeals court "obviously did the right thing," but he and his client "still have a long way to go."
Prosecutors didn't return calls seeking comment Friday.
The victim's parents, Glenn and Judy Cherry, have written state and Tarrant County officials advocating commutation of Storey's death sentence to life imprisonment without parole. In an affidavit, they said Storey's execution won't bring back their son or atone for his loss.
The sentiment from Cherry's parents is not unprecedented.
In 2004, convicted killer Dominque Green was executed in Texas despite calls from relatives of his victim and others opposed to capital punishment that he should live.
Storey's mother, Marilyn Shankle-Grant, said she was extremely grateful for the support from Cherry's parents.
Meanwhile, a clemency petition for commutation of Storey's death sentence was filed this week with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Ware said. He said he was fully aware that the board, with only a few exceptions, has historically rejected clemency requests from death row inmates.
An accomplice of Storey's, Mark Porter, pleaded guilty for his participation in the slaying and accepted a life sentence without parole.