This undated file photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows death row inmate Thomas Whitaker
The father of a Texas man who slaughtered his younger brother and mother will find out two days before his execution date whether the state will spare his life.
Kent Whitaker, the soul survivor of a deadly attack hatched by his son, is pushing the state to grant clemency to the condemned man.
But they have never spared a death row inmate solely at the formal request of the victim’s family.
Thomas ‘Bart’ Whitaker is set to be put to death by lethal injection for masterminding a 2003 plot near Houston that left his mother Tricia, 51, and brother Keith, 19, dead and his father Kent with a bullet wound near his heart.
Mr Whitaker attended a 30-minute meeting chairman of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles in Austin concerning whether his son would be able to serve life in prison rather than being executed.
Following the meeting he said: ‘I am going to be thrown into a deeper grief at the hands of the state of Texas, in the name of justice.
Whitaker says his son has been a model inmate and has provided letters from death row prison guards to back him up.
Mr Whitaker attended a 30-minute meeting chairman of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles in Austin concerning whether his son would be able to serve life in prison rather than being executed
Thomas set up the ambush that killed his mom and brother (right). His father survived the shooting and, after learning to forgive his son, is asking state officials for mercy
According to the clemency petition, Mr Whitaker, his relatives and his wife’s family do not want Texas to execute Bart.
The panel’s decision is due on Tuesday, two days before the execution. If it recommends commuting the death sentence to life in prison, Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, would make the final decision.
In a shocking clemency letter first seen on the American-Statesman, Mr Whitaker, 69, revealed he cannot bear to see the life of another loved one be taken from him.
‘I have seen too much killing already… I don’t want to see him executed right there in front of my eyes,’ the lone father said, who is left with the horrific memory of his family who fell dead in front of his eyes.
‘I know Tricia and Kevin would not want him to be executed. I can’t imagine seeing the last living part of my family executed by the state, especially since all the victims didn’t want that to happen in the first place,’ he said, solemnly.
Thomas is scheduled to be executed for the crime on Feb. 22, but his father is making a last-ditch plea to spare his son’s life
In the online clemency plea on behalf of Mr Whitaker, the board to Governor Greg Abbott detail his request for the lesser penalty of a lifelong sentence.
‘This case in unique. Kent Whitaker was almost murdered during the same ambush that took the life of Kent’s wife, Patricia, and son, Kevin.
‘There is only one person on Earth who is intimate with the murderous attack, the lives and deaths of the other victims, and the life of Thomas Whitaker – Mr. Whitaker’s father, Kent,’ the powerful, 19 page letter first reads.
Only hours after this happy family photo was taken, the man on the left, Thomas Whitaker, had his brother Kevin (pictured on the right) murdered by one of his friends
Kent is pictured with his new wife above. The last sounds of his ex-wife and killer’s mom, Tricia, were a series of weak, wet coughs as blood filled her lungs
‘He speaks to clemency with a moral force and detail of experience that no district attorney or judge or anyone can possess.’
Kent suggests that his son (pictured) has turned his life around while in prison since the horrific murder nearly two decades ago
In the letter, Mr Whitaker makes a point to suggest that his son – who he often visited in prison – has turned his life around since the decades-old horrific murder.
The plea includes backup letters written by fellow inmates to Thomas – who said he greatly cares about the well-being of others.
Inmate Keith Milam said Thomas has a ‘special affinity of helping guys with mental illness,’ the clemency letter states.
His father believes Thomas also has a mental illness that was never formally diagnosed.
Faryion Wardrip added that Thomas is even one of the most liked inmates – who worked hard to better not only himself, but others around him.
‘Thomas provides care packages to newly arrived inmates — a toothbrush, razor, coffee packets, chips — because commissary privileges take a while to set up,’ Kent said, according to the Statesman.
‘He encouraged at least two inmates to get their high school GED certificates,’ he added.
Dad Kent, who published the book ‘Murder by Family’, credits his Christian faith for the forgiveness of his son
Thomas, who has a bachelor’s degree and is currently working toward a master’s, works to promote the importance of education.
The merciful father, who published his own book ‘Murder by Family’, credits his Christian faith for helping him to forgive his son, and is now asking the court to consider the same.
‘Kent looked to God… He found the answer early in his tragedy, as he can explain to each member of this Board,’ the letter goes on to say.
‘While laying in his hospital bed, Kent considered whether he should slip into bitterness and despair. His faith rescued him from that fate.’
‘I know Tricia and Kevin would not want him to be executed,’ Kent said in the powerful clemency letter