In an ultimate act of forgiveness, a father is asking for his son Thomas Whitaker not to be executed today in a Texas prison’s death chamber. The same son that hired a hitman to kill him, his wife, and his other son in 2003.
Thomas “Bart” Whitaker is scheduled to be executed today, February 22, 2018. That’s if he is not granted a reprieve by the Governor of Texas. His father, Kent Whitaker, is begging for his son to be taken off death row. This is a story of murder for hire and, ultimately, of forgiveness. But will the governor commute the sentence to life or will the execution go ahead as planned?
Murder for Money
On the evening of December 10, 2003, the Whitaker family headed to a nearby Pappadeaux restaurant for a celebration. Thomas Whitaker had taken his final exams and would soon be a graduate of Sam Houston State University.
As the family returned home, Thomas’ brother, Kevin, entered the home and found a man clad in black waiting.
The man, later revealed to be Chris Brashear, shot Kevin in the chest. Thomas’ mother, Patricia, was the next to enter and the next to be shot. Kent was shot in the shoulder when he came in.
Meanwhile, Thomas came upon the scene and allegedly began to struggle with Brashear, getting shot in the arm. Brashear escaped into the darkness.
In the end, Kent and Thomas survived, while Kevin and Patricia didn’t make it.
What no one knew at the time was that it was all part of an elaborate plot hatched by Thomas to gain access to a million-dollar life insurance policy by killing a family he said he hated at the time.
Father Fighting Thomas Whitaker’s Death Sentence
Thomas Whitaker’s carefully planned murder of his family soon fell apart.
His hitman, Brashear, and a getaway driver both turned on Whitaker for leniency on their crimes.
Thomas Whitaker did own up to masterminding the shooting. At his 2017 trial, he said “I’m 100 percent guilty… I put the plan in motion.”
Brashear and the driver got life in prison.
Whitaker got the death penalty. He’s been fighting to get off death row ever since. And then he gained an unlikely ally.
Kent Whitaker forgave his son a long time ago. He believes that while the crime should not go unpunished, Thomas’ death would just add more heartache to his situation. A devout Christian, Kent believes that life in prison would serve as enough punishment.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously agrees with Kent. The last person that needs to change their mind is Gov. Greg Abbott, who, as state governor, can commute Thomas’ sentence to life. But the clock is ticking, as Thomas is scheduled to be executed today.
Currently, Texas, Alabama, and Florida are all set to proceed in the executions of three inmates on February 22, 2018. If all are executed as planned, this would constitute the first time in eight years that three people have been put to death on the same day in the United States.