Bart Whitaker faces execution for killing mother and brother in 2003

Saturday, January 20, 2018
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Father of death row inmate pleads for mercy ahead of Feb. execution

SUGAR LAND, Texas (KTRK) -- The father of a Sugar Land man sentenced to die for killing his mother and brother in 2003 is asking for his son's life to be spared.

"I'm very concerned. I want him to live. I love him," said Kent Whitaker of his son Bart.

Bart Whitaker was convicted in 2008 of the murders of his mother, Patricia, and his brother, Kevin.

Investigators said he hatched a plan to kill his entire family in an effort to receive an inheritance of more than $1 million. Bart was sentenced to death.

"Kevin and Tricia would be appalled if they knew that their brother and son was going to be executed as a result of these murders," said Kent Whitaker.

Kent and his son's attorneys have requested a commutation of that death sentence. In a document filed with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, they write, "Commutation means that we as a society do not forgive or execute Bart Whitaker. We will instead mark him to wander his own mind within the oblivion of his own cell. And this punishment will continue until God decides otherwise."

Kent Whitaker calls that mercy.

"Mercy means that you don't get what you deserve," Kent Whitaker said.

Further, he says his son is now a changed man after serving 11 years in prison. He's respected by other inmates whom he helps and tutors. He's even completed his bachelor's degree while behind bars and is in the final stages of completing his master's in literature.

Kent Whitaker tells Eyewitness News he never wanted the district attorney to seek the death penalty. In fact, he says none of his or his wife's family wanted that.

The lead prosecutor on the case says nothing changes what Bart Whitaker did.

"I'm sorry for Mr. Whitaker, but I'm gonna tell you right now, justice has been done on this case. And anybody that says different is absolutely wrong," said Fred Felcman, first assistant district attorney for the Fort Bend County District Attorney's Office.

Bart Whitaker's execution date is set for Feb. 22. The governor or a court would have to step in to stop it.

To read the entirety of the request for Whitaker's death sentence to be commuted, click here.

The Texas Board Pardons and Paroles will review the request.

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