By Bobby Bordelon
After Terri Storer was indicted on two counts of murder by a Greenbrier County Grand Jury for the November 2019 deaths of Jeremiah and Jennifer Thomas, a Friday, August 14 hearing lead to her release on a $500,000 bond to the Jefferson County Home Incarceration program.
After being indicted on August 5, according to her husband Joshua Storer’s testimony, Terri Storer was arrested on Sunday, August 9, approximately ten months after the incident. He explained the arrest led them to be “completely taken by shock. It was our understanding early on in this situation that an agreement was made when her indictment was made that we show up in person to face the judge.”
Her release is contingent on her cooperation with the Jefferson County Home Incarceration program.
“I want to make a couple of things very clear to you with regard to this,” explained Richardson. “I’m permitting this only because of the opportunity of this program to monitor your whereabouts. If you do anything that interferes in the slightest with the ability of the Jefferson County Home Confinement Program to monitor your whereabouts, your bond will be revoked. … If your battery runs out and they’re not able to track you, you can count on going to jail and awaiting trial in jail. … If you do anything to violate the terms of your supervision, the court will take it very seriously because release on bond on a double murder charge is only within the discretion from the court.”
Before Greenbrier County Circuit Court Judge Robert Richardson on Wednesday, August 12, Storer plead not guilty to both counts and the defense submitted a motion for bond, asking for consideration to be placed in the custody of her husband or on home confinement in her Jefferson County home. In the filing, Storer submits that “she was acting in self-defense/defense of others when she had no other recourse than to protect herself.” In addition, the filing includes a Facebook comment allegedly posted by Jeremiah Thomas, reading, “I’m just shooting at the trucks that keep pouring into this place I’m hunting. I told one person and we hunted it all bow season then this. Well guess I’ll be lone wolf again. I enjoy being by myself anyway.”
Called as a witness, Joshua Storer, the accused’s husband, testified that Storer worked as a “cryptotech, a top secret security clearance that required her to be aware of the locations of the United States naval submarine fleet. Since then, she is now employed by the United States Coast Guard here locally, with a security clearance working for their logistics department.” He explained the security clearances mean she was “well vetted” by the military and, as the local committee chairperson for a cub scout pack, she is well known and liked in the Charles Town community.
In addition to this, Storer “is a major caretaker toward the [their child’s] education. … With the COVID precautions taking place, the schools in a virtual environment a majority of the time, she would be instrumental in our son’s education.”
“There’s really two issues here,” explained Johnson. “… The reason you would imprison someone as they awaiting trial is to insure their appearance. There’s nothing before the court to indicate that this client … would not appear. She’s cooperated with us in every aspect. … Every since this incident happened ten months ago … there’s been nothing during that time … that has shown she wouldn’t appear at trial. … The second thing the court needs to look is is if a crime will be committed if she’s permitted to be out without [or with] home confinement, [or considerations] around the safety of the community. Our client believes this was a matter of justifiable self defense and the defense of others. She was on property she had a right to be [on, while] the deceased, we believe to be the aggressors, did not have a right to be on the property.”
Greenbrier County Prosecuting Attorney Pat Via pushed for the court to consider the extremely serious nature of the charges brought by the Greenbrier County Grand Jury before coming to a decision.
“The issue for the state here today, judge, is the court has before it a two count murder indictment,” explained Via. “Murder of course includes multiple degrees … nor did the grand jury ascertain that. The real is it is a double homicide indictment. That in of itself speaks a great deal to the seriousness of the matter, the nature of the allegations alleged and at this point found to be sustainable by probable cause standard by a grand jury. … It’s a question of justification versus not. … The state is of the view, in such a circumstance, the safety … would fall in favor of denying bond at this time. I would however think it’s important for me to point out that … if the court choose [to allow bail], set a sustainable assurity requirement for that bond and, in addition, it seems … obvious to the state that a double homicide bail should require strict opportunity for supervision and therefore home confinement [should be required].”
Although the court did not decide on bond during the Wednesday hearing, the issue was considered once again on Friday, after hearing back from the Jefferson County Home Confinement program. On Friday, Richardson explained the “court needs to consider all of the circumstances and make an equitable and appropriate decision that recognizes both the importance of the defendants [continued appearances and cooperation] as well as the risk to the community of further offenses. Reviewing this, I have to take very seriously the nature of the charges. Two murder charges have been brought against this defendant. … That by itself, in the court’s view, creates a risk of the defendants appearance at further proceedings.” However, Richardson continued, the “defendant has not fled during the period following the alleged offense, has maintained contact with her attorneys, and [maintains] that she wishes to pursue a vigorous defense of this indictment. Taking those factors into account … I am going to permit the defendant to be released on bond.”
The total bond was set for $500,000, “$300,000 would be upon the defendant’s recognizance and the balance would be secured by assurity, cash, or property,” Richardson said.
Once bond is posted, Storer is required to enter the Jefferson County Home Incarceration program. She would be allowed to travel to work, to medical appointments, religious worship services, and to work with her attorneys in Greenbrier County when needed, provided the information be provided to the home incarceration program beforehand.