Victim survivors are important voices of experience on the death penalty issue. On this page, you’ll find the stories of Texans who have been impacted directly by violence and who oppose the death penalty.
Glenn & Judy Cherry: Victim’s parents oppose execution
“Paul Storey’s execution will not bring our son back, will not atone for the loss of our son and will not bring comfort or closure.”
Those are the powerful words of Glenn and Judy Cherry, whose son Jonas Cherry was killed at a Putt-Putt Golf and Games in Hurst, Texas in 2006. One of the men convicted of his senseless and tragic death – Paul Storey – faces execution by the State of Texas on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. The Cherrys have signed an affidavit asking state and Tarrant County officials to stop the execution and commute Storey’s sentence to life in prison without parole. On April 7, 2017, Paul Storey was granted a stay by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. For more information about the Cherrys and their fight for mercy, please visit Support Glenn and Judith Cherry.
Voices of Experience: Joyce Washington
Leveria Washington, Jr. – known as Rockwell to his family and friends – was a well-liked person who loved all sports, recalls his mother, Joyce Washington. He was a star player on his high school’s football team in Tyler, Texas, where he was called the “Rock of Gibraltar.”
After high school, Leveria moved back to Dallas, where he attended Paul Quinn College for two years. He wanted to pledge Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Leveria also attended ITT Business School for a while before landing a job at UPS.
On July 9, 1991, Leveria had spent a relaxing day with friends at an apartment in Lewisville, drinking beer and playing a pick-up game of basketball. For unknown reasons, though, a fight broke out later that night between Leveria and a high school friend who was visiting from Tyler.
Leveria went downstairs to the apartment where his girlfriend lived, but she would not let him in. In the meantime, the friend grabbed a gun from his car. When Leveria returned to the apartment where the fight occurred, the friend shot him multiple times as he crawled down the hallway. He was 21 years old, the father of a young daughter.
Joyce says that the man who killed her son received only a 10-year probated sentence, which felt like a “slap in the face” to her. Despite her frustrations with the criminal justice system, however, she has never believed in the death penalty. “Putting the guy who murdered my son to death is not going to ease my pain or bring my son back.”
“I don’t believe in the death penalty. It is such a waste of taxpayers’ money.”
– Joyce Washington, mother of Leveria “Rockwell” Washington, Jr.
As the surviving mother of a murder victim, Joyce says she needed to be able to talk to someone weeks and months after the funeral, when all her friends and family members had gone their separate ways and she was left with the loneliness and sadness and hurt to deal with.
“We [victims’ family members] need to know where to get help, support, and counseling for a long as needed, to have access to someone we can reach out to and talk to anytime, one-on-one if necessary. At the time I did not feel I got the help that may be available today,” she explains.
“My son wanted the American dream – work, love, and happiness – and he was willing to work for it. He was gone too soon,” Joyce says. “His siblings and I still miss him and hurt at his passing. This is a process and it takes time, but it never heals, it just gets to where you can cope with it.”
Voices of Experience
Read these Voices of Texas, featuring the powerful stories of individuals whose loved ones were murdered. These profiles were developed by Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation.
Diane Allen Download PDF – English
Stanley Allridge Download PDF – English
Steve Bishop Download PDF – English and Spanish
Jan Brown Download PDF – English and Spanish
Helene Burns Download PDF – English and Spanish
Ron Carlson Download PDF – English
Chris Castillo Download PDF – English and Spanish
Juan & Martha Cotera Download PDF – English
Agnes Fernandes Download PDF – English
Lily Gernale Download PDF – English
Joanna Rankin Download PDF – English and Spanish
Elizabeth Stein Download PDF – English
Joy Strickland Download PDF – English and Spanish
Joe Walker Download PDF – English
Linda White Download PDF – English and Spanish