Lethal injection concerns part of bid to spare Missouri man

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Posted: Feb 09, 2015 3:17 PM
Lethal injection concerns part of bid to spare Missouri man

ST. LOUIS (AP) — An attorney for a Missouri inmate who's scheduled to die this week is seeking to halt the execution over concerns about the state's secretive process of obtaining and using lethal injection drugs.

Walter Timothy Storey is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for killing a neighbor in St. Charles in 1990. After a state-record 10 executions in 2014, Storey would be the first person put to death this year in Missouri.

Missouri refuses to name the compounding pharmacy where it obtains the pentobarbital used in executions and won't disclose details about testing of the drug. Attorney Jennifer Herndon said Monday that creates the risk that Storey could suffer a painful death, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Herndon also claims Missouri violates its own protocol by using a second drug, midazolam. Missouri officials have said the state offers midazolam as a sedative to help calm the condemned inmate before the execution, but the state does not consider use of the sedative to be part of the execution process. The inmate can opt not to take it.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has already turned down the stay request. Herndon has appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court and plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. She also will seek clemency from Gov. Jay Nixon, she said.

Storey, 47, has been sentenced to death three separate times in the Feb. 2, 1990, death of Jill Frey, a 36-year-old special education teacher.

Storey was living with his mother when he became upset over his pending divorce. He was drinking beer and ran out of money so he went to Frey's neighboring apartment to steal money for more beer.

Court records show he climbed her balcony and entered through an unlocked sliding glass door. He attacked Frey in her bedroom, slitting her throat, breaking six ribs and causing other injuries. Frey died of blood loss and asphyxiation.

The next day, Storey went back to the apartment and tried to remove incriminating evidence, even scrubbing Frey's fingernails to remove signs of his DNA.

Storey was first convicted and sentenced to death in 1990. The Missouri Supreme Court tossed the sentence, citing concerns about ineffective assistance of counsel and "egregious" errors committed by Kenny Hulshof, a special prosecutor in the Missouri attorney general's office who was later elected to Congress.

Storey was tried again in 1997, and sentenced again to death. That conviction was also overturned, this time over a procedural error by the judge. Storey was sentenced to death a third time in 1999.

Herndon said Storey is remorseful and has spent "thousands of hours" working in a restorative justice program in prison, trying to help crime victims.

"I think that's how he expresses taking responsibility and his remorse," Herndon said.