Missouri officials executed Walter Timothy Storey on February 11.
Tim Storey was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1990 murder of Jill Frey in her St. Charles County home. This was a horrible event. But Storey is not the man he was when she was killed. Through the years, Tim Storey has matured and has become a model prisoner at Potosi Correctional Center. He has held jobs of responsibility, getting along well with inmates and staff. He is a highly trusted inmate in “Puppies for Parole,” a Department of Corrections program training shelter dogs to be better candidates for adoption by the public. He has been heavily involved in the prison restorative justice program–promoting healing for crime victims– and has been hand-picked by the staff to speak to outsiders who visit the prison.
His trial reflected some of the big problems in our criminal justice system: prosecutorial power and political ambitions. Storey’s original death sentence was overturned by the Missouri Supreme Court because of ineffective assistance of counsel and “egregious” errors committed by Kenny Hulshof, then a special prosecutor in the office of the MO Attorney General, including his argument that killing Storey would be the same as self-defense.
Soon after Storey’s death sentence was first reversed, the Attorney General’s (AG) Office publicly indicated a willingness to accept a life without parole (LWOP) sentence. By then, Hulshof had resigned from the AG’s office as he was campaigning for Congress. He petitioned the court to be assigned to prosecute the case, a highly unusual action. Together with the victim’s family, he began a public campaign and push for a death sentence. A court declined to appoint Hulshof but the organized furor prompted the AG to again seek a death sentence.
Because of ineffective assistance of counsel his sentencing juries did not hear the full extent of his mental damage and emotional scars from a chaotic childhood of physical and sexual abuse, neglect and abandonment.Several mental health experts diagnosed Storey with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol/drug dependence and some brain dysfunction leading to a “diminished capacity” to consider consequences. They reported his ability to “coolly reflect” (required for 1st degree murder) was “significantly impaired.” If evidence from these experts plus coaches, teachers, and employers aad testified, as they were willing, of his good character and/or of his childhood hardships, a different result could have occurred during any of the three penalty-phase trials.
MADP condemns all murders– including executions premeditated by government officials and portrayed as actions of justice. Beyond morality, the case of Tim Storey exemplifies many of the inherent problems in the death penalty—ineffective legal counsel and misconduct by prosecutors. It shows the highly political nature of the death penalty and its use by politicians for personal gain. We mourn his loss at the hands of the State.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
CONTACT Gov. Jay Nixon’s office, urging the governor to end executions. Call 573-751-3222; write a letter– mailing it to Room 216, State Capitol, Jefferson City MO 65101, faxing it via 573-751-1495 or email Governor Nixon.
CONTACT Attorney General Chris Koster’s office, encouraging him to cease pushing for executions.. Call 573-751-3321, write: PO Box 899, Jefferson City MO 652101 or e-mail him.