The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has halted the execution of Paul Storey, which was set for Wednesday. The court sent the case back to a judge to review claims regarding the prosecution presenting false evidence at Storey’s trial, reports the Texas Tribune. In 2008, Storey, 32, was sentenced to death for the 2006 murder of Jonas Cherry during a robbery of a miniature golf course where Cherry worked near Fort Worth. At the trial, the prosecution said that Cherry’s parents wanted the death penalty. “It should go without saying that all of Jonas [Cherry’s] family and everyone who loved him believe the death penalty was appropriate,” the prosecution said. Storey and Cherry’s parents say that’s not true. The Cherrys wrote to Gov. Greg Abbott and the Board of Pardons and Paroles in February, asking for a life sentence for Storey. The Cherrys said they never wanted the death penalty and made that clear to the prosecution.
Sven Berger, a juror in Storey’s trial who has asked Texas legislators to change jury instructions in capital cases, said had he known the Cherrys didn’t want death, he would have “held out for a [sentence of] life without the possibility of parole for as long as it took.” The trial court has been ordered to determine whether the fact that the Cherrys opposed the death penalty could have been discovered by appellate attorneys earlier. Generally, if evidence could have been raised at an earlier appeal and wasn’t, it is not allowed to be used in future appeals. This evidence was brought forth to the courts less than two weeks before his execution.