A Texas death-row inmate will have his mother by his side when he is executed next week, thanks to the generosity of online donors.
Marilyn Shankle-Grant, 57, will bid Paul Storey a final farewell when he is put to death on April 12.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for the donations. It has helped me to be there for my son when he needs his mother,” Marilyn Shankle-Grant wrote in a Facebook post, about the crowdfunding campaign.
Storey was sentenced to death for the murder of 28-year-old Jonas Cherry. Storey’s accomplice Mark Devayne Porter — the triggerman in the 2006 robbery turned homicide — pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.
Since 2008, Shankle-Grant has made the four-hour drive from Fort Worth, Texas, to the state prison in Livingston, Texas, reported BBC.
Shankle-Grant expressed despair over her son’s fate to the Marshall Project.
“I couldn’t understand why Paul was sentenced to death. When you think of the death penalty, you think of serial killers,” she recounted. “You don’t think of a robbery-murder like my son committed.”
She added, “For the first couple of years, I did nothing but cry. I remember our first visit at death row, a week after he’d arrived, he already looked a lot thinner. He seemed like he was starving himself. It broke my heart.”
Shankle-Grant fell into a depression over Storey’s conviction and ultimately lost her job. She then started a business but couldn’t muster any inspiration to continue once her son’s execution date was revealed. In addition, her Forth Worth home recently entered foreclosure and her car has broken down.
Abraham J Bonowitz, co-director of Death Penalty Action, came across Shankle-Grant’s Facebook post, where she spoke about wanting to see her son in his final moments.
He created a page on the crowdfunding website You Caring on her behalf, adding a note from Shankle-Grant.
“With a heavy heart I turn to my fellow human light to ask you to help me help my son face the darkness as his destruction approaches,” she wrote.
The campaign has exceeded its $7,500 goal with $10,409 as of Tuesday.
Cherry’s parents Judith and Glenn Cherry oppose the death penalty and have asked that Storey’s sentence is changed to life in prison.
“An execution will not bring closure to us regarding the death of Jonas. It will bring us more pain,” Judith Cherry said, reported Dallas News. “It pains us to think that due to our son’s death, another person will be purposefully put to death.”
She continued, “Also motivating us is that we do not want Paul Storey’s family, especially his mother and grandmother, if she is still alive, to witness the purposeful execution of their son. They are innocent of his deeds.”