Texas Board of Pardons votes to commute murderer's death sentence following calls from victim

Texas Board of Pardons votes to commute murderer's death sentence following calls from victim

Thomas "Bart" Whitaker killed his mother and brother

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Texas man who plotted the murder of his mother and brother could have his death sentence commuted, in what would be a first for the state since 2007.

The Texas Board of Pardons has voted unanimously to commute Thomas "Bart" Whitaker's sentence, following calls for clemency from his father Kent - another of his victims.

Kent Whitaker was left with a bullet wound near his heart after being shot by a hitman hired by Bart, who also carried out the two killings. Nonetheless he has appealed for his son's execution to be cancelled.

Despite the board's decision, the man could still be sentenced to death as the final call has to be made by Governor Greg Abbott.

It is thought Bart Whitaker killed his family members in an attempt to gain inheritance in 2003, according to Sky News. However his father has said he forgives his son.

Kent Whitaker said that the prosecution should not have argued in favour of a death sentence in the name of his wife and son because it's "the last thing they would want."

He began to cry when the board announced that it agreed the man should not be sentenced to death.

However, if the Governor does rule Whitaker should be killed, his father has said he will attend tomorrow (February 22).

The original prosecutor Fred Felcman has said he believes the decision to change the sentence has only been given based on what the father has said, rather than thinking of other victims affected by murder.