Ex-jurors hope governor chooses execution for Sugar Land killer

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An ex-juror who opposes the death penalty explains why she thinks Gov. Abbott should allow Bart Whitaker's execution to go forward. (KTRK)

Emotions flared after the surprising announcement that Bart Whitaker could possibly dodge the death penalty.

It has been nearly 10 years since Whitaker was sentenced to death for the murders of his mother Patricia and brother Kevin.

Investigators said Whitaker wanted inheritance money of more than $1 million, and that's why he hatched a plan to kills his entire family.

Now a juror who was on the Whitaker trial is speaking out exclusively to Eyewitness News.

"We worked really hard together as a jury. We started every jury session with a prayer," she said.

Like many of the jurors I contacted today, she was afraid to talk, fearing Whitaker still had the power to persuade someone to murder for him.

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ABC13's Kevin Quinn reports on what happens next after a prison review board recommended clemency for Bart Whitaker.

The juror told me she's adamantly against the death penalty, but voted for it in this case.

"He was a continuing danger. From inside the prison walls. He wasn't able to pull the trigger, but was able to repeatedly convince others to kill them."

But according to Whitaker's father, Bart is a changed man. Kent Whitaker says he's forgiven his son, and today's announcement is just.

"He has been a model prisoner," Kent said. "He hasn't gotten in any trouble. It's unfathomable that they're claiming he can't change. If that was the case, every religion on Earth would be a waste of time."

But for this one juror, she's not buying it.

"He hadn't changed over many many years. He had tried repeatedly to kill his family," she said. "I believe his first plan was to lock them all in a house and burn the house to the ground."

Whitaker's fate is now left up to the governor to decide: death chamber or prison for life?

"I'd like to see the execution go ahead and that's saying a lot for someone who opposes the death penalty," she said.

Texas governor could grant death row inmate clemency for first time since 2007
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The last Texas death row inmate to be granted clemency was Kenneth Eugene Foster, who was convicted in a 1996 capital murder.

READ MORE: Bart Whitaker faces execution for killing mother and brother in 2003
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Father of death row inmate pleads for mercy ahead of Feb. execution

To read the entirety of the request for Whitaker's death sentence to be commuted, click here.
Related Topics:
death penaltyexecutionmurdertexas newsSugar Land
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