Missouri has carried out its 1st execution of the year. The state has executed 47-year-old Walter Storey, who was sentenced to death for the murder of 36-year-old Jill Frey, a neighbor whom Storey killed with a knife on February 2, 1990.
He received a lethal dose of pentobarbital at 12:01 a.m. in the execution chamber at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center in Bonne Terre. As the lethal injection took place, Storey turned his head towards his families members in the witness room and began to sing or chant until his breathing stopped. His official time of death was 12:10 a.m. Prior to the execution, Storey declined to take sedatives of valium and midazolam.
“For this world full of anger, hate, and revenge, I would like to pray for peace, forgiveness, and love! I love everyone, even those who are doing this deed,” said Storey in a final statement.
Court documents say Storey received a divorce petition from his estranged wife on February 2, 1990. At that time, Storey was living with his mother in a St. Charles, Missouri apartment building. After a heavy night of drinking, Storey ran out of alcohol and decided to rob his across-the-hall neighbor, Jill Frey, a special education teacher.
Storey got a knife from his kitchen and climbed up Frey’s balcony, entering through an unlocked sliding glass door. Storey brutally beat Frey to death, inflicting no fewer than twenty blunt force impacts, six broken ribs, a stab wound to the abdomen, and two fatal cut wounds to the neck. After killing Frey, Storey stole her car keys, purse, and car.
The next day, Storey returned to Frey’s apartment using the stolen keys and attempted to wipe down the apartment to cover up any evidence. Storey cleaned under Frey’s fingernails with her own toothbrush, put evidence in a dumpster, and threw Frey’s keys in the lake behind her apartment.
The day after that, Frey’s body was found by her co-workers after she failed to show up for work.
Storey’s attorneys tried to appeal by arguing that the execution shouldn’t proceed because Missouri has used midazolam, which is part of the three-drug protocol used in Oklahoma. The U. S. Supreme Court ordered a halt to executions in Oklahoma using that drug, and Storey’s attorneys said that is grounds to halt his execution in Missouri. The State argued that Missouri doesn’t use midazolam to execute inmates, but only offers it as a sedative to ease their anxiety, and therefore the Court’s ruling has no meaning in Missouri executions. Storey’s attorneys also raised arguments related to Missouri’s execution protocol and use of a drug mixed by an unregulated compounding pharmacy, but those arguments have failed to result in stays in executions scheduled in Missouri in each month since November 2013. Governor Jay Nixon then denied an appeal for clemency for Storey.
Storey’s execution could be the final one in Missouri scheduled to happen at 12:01 a.m. in the morning. The State Supreme Court, at the request of the Department of Corrections, has set Missouri’s next execution, that of 74-year-old Cecil Clayton, to happen between 6:00 p.m. March 17 and 5:59 p.m. March 18. Executions in Missouri had been scheduled to be carried out at 12:01 a.m. the morning of the given date since the late 1930s.