Updated: Thursday, February 22, 2018 6:21 pm EST
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has granted clemency to Thomas Bartlett “Bart” Whitaker, who is convicted of killing his mother and brother, and attempting to kill his father. Governor Abbott's decision to grant clemency follows the unanimous recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and is supported by Bart's father. Bart has been resentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.
Updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 8:13 pm EST
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has recommended that Governor Greg Abbott grant clemency to Thomas Bartlett “Bart” Whitaker, who is convicted of killing his mother and brother, and attempting to kill his father. The Parole Board's decision was unanimous. Governor Abbott does not have to follow the recommendation of the Parole Board. Thomas' father, Kent, has been advocating that his son's life be spared, arguing that he has become a changed man in during the years he spent in prison.
Updated: Monday, February 19, 2018 11:44 am EST
Thomas Bartlett “Bart” Whitaker is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CST, on Thursday, February 22, 2018, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Thirty-eight-year-old Thomas is convicted of arranging the murder of his mother, 53-year-old Patricia Whitaker, and his brother, 19-year-old Kevin Whitaker on December 10, 2003, in Sugar Land, Texas. Thomas has spent the last 11 years of his life on Texas’ death row.
Thomas Whitaker had graduated from high school and led his family to believe that he was attending college. On December 10, 2003, Kent, his father, Patricia, his mother, and Kevin, his brother, were taking him out to dinner to celebrate, what they believed to be, his impending graduation from college. Thomas was not attending college. Instead, he had conspired with his roommate Christopher Brashear, to murder his family in order to inherit the estimated $1.5 million family estate.
After arriving home from dinner, Kent, Patricia, and Kevin entered their home where Brashear was waiting for them. Thomas knew that Brashear was in the home. Kent, Patricia, and Kevin were all shot. Thomas was also shot in the arm, in an effort to hide his involvement. Patricia and Kevin did from their injures, while Kent survived. Thomas fled to Mexico in June 2004, as the police investigation focused on him.
During the investigation, police discover that this was not the first time Thomas had plotted to murder his family and that at least one previous attempt had been made since 2000. After Thomas was arrested, and he before his trial, he offered to plead guilty to the charges in exchange for two life consecutive life sentences. The state refused to accepted the deal, alleging his motives lacked remorse and that he was insincere. During his trial, Thomas’ attorneys also noted that the state was not pursuing the death penalty against Brashear, the shooter. Thomas’ father was also against him being sentenced to death.
Thomas was sentenced to death in March of 2007. Brashear pled guilty to his involvement and was sentenced to life in prison.
The Texas Court of Criminal has recently rejected a request to halt Thomas' execution. Thomas' father, who has forgiven his son for the murders, has also filed clemency petitions and is asking that the execution be stayed.
Please pray for peace and strength for the families of the Kent, Patricia and Kevin. Kent has since forgiven his son for his actions. Please pray that if Thomas is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be provided prior to his execution. Thomas has previously stated to the media that he has lost his faith the Lord since arriving on death row. Please pray that he will regain his relationship with the Lord prior to his execution.