Bart Whitaker was found guilty of mur*der and planned a horrible attack on his family. In 2003, Whitaker hired two men to break into his family’s house and k*ill his mother, father, and brother. He was a student at Sam Houston State University at the time.
He planned the crime so that he could get his family’s money, which he thought would help him with all of his money problems. But the crime was found, and Whitaker was arrested and put on trial. The case got a lot of attention from the media because of how shocking the crime was and how controversial the de*ath penalty is.
Thomas Bartlett Whitaker was born on December 31, 1979. His father, Kent, was the accountant for a construction company, and his mother, Patricia (Trish), worked as an elementary school teacher.
Whitaker’s parents bought him a lot of expensive cars when he was in high school at Clements High School. He started at Baylor University in 2001 and then moved on to Sam Houston State University (SHSU) in late 2003.
For Whitaker’s part, he lied to his parents about his enrollment and academic progress. Various reports said he had either dropped out of SHSU months before or was a freshman on academic probation. Even though he was lying, his parents kept paying for his schooling and even bought him a townhouse in Willis, Texas, on a lake. They also gave him a $4,000 Rolex watch just hours before the mur*ders, which makes people wonder what role they played in letting him do what he did.
The Crime: Whitaker’s Plan to Ki*ll His Family
Thomas Bartlett “Bart” Whitaker lied to his family on December 10, 2003, telling them he had finished his last exams and was on track to graduate from SHSU. For a celebratory dinner, they went to the nearby Pappadeaux restaurant in Stafford.
Whitaker gave a lot of thought to his plan to k*ill his family. They asked two friends, Chris Brashear and Steve Champagne, to help him k*ill the person. He told them in great detail how to break into his house and k*ill his family and promised them a share of his family’s wealth.
Brashear went into the Whitaker family home wearing only black clothes and a ski mask. Following that, he planned a break-in and waited by the front door for the Whitakers to come home. Bart said he wanted to get his cell phone out of his car right before he went inside when he got home.
Kevin, Bart’s brother, was the first person to come into the family home. He was said to have smiled when he saw Brashear in the mask. Kevin, on the other hand, fell to the ground after Brashear shot him in the chest. Patricia was the next person who was shot in the chest. She also fell to the ground.
Kent rushed in right away and was shot in the shoulder, breaking his humerus bone. Following this, Bart went into the house and faked a fight with Brashear, purposely getting shot in the left arm to avoid being caught.
He then ran away through the Whitakers’ back door and jumped over the fence into the back yard of a neighbour. Bart’s brother Kevin died minutes after being shot, and his mother Patricia died not long after Life Flight took her to Memorial Hermann Hospital.
When the police arrived, Bart lied to them on purpose by saying he thought the gunman was black so that Brashear wouldn’t think he was guilty. Luckily, Kent, Bart’s dad, lived through the shooting even though his wife and son died.
Arrest, Trial & Sentencing
To start a new life, Bart moved to Mexico. Whitaker was given a de*ath warrant on September 15, 2005.
After being caught in Mexico, Bart was sent back to the United States to be questioned.
There was evidence that Whitaker would get about $1.5 million when his parents and brother died, which led the prosecution to believe that he did it to make money. He was also charged with trying to make money off of a $1 million life insurance payout.
Kent Whitaker had already forgiven his son and the other people who helped him ki*ll the people in 2007. Several years ago, when his son was on trial, he tried to convince the jury not to give the de*ath penalty.
Whitaker was eventually executed.
Chris Brashear was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years as part of a plea bargain negotiated with prosecutors for his role in the mur*ders. Meanwhile, Steven Champagne was sentenced to 15 years in prison after testifying for the prosecution.
In 2018, Texas Governor Greg Abbott changed Thomas “Bart” Whitaker’s sentence from de*ath to life in prison without the chance of parole, just 30 minutes before he was supposed to be put to de*ath by lethal injection.
There was a unanimous vote in favour of commutation by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Bart’s father, who lived through the attempt on his life, has been a vocal opponent of his son’s execution. He is sure that he will be hurt again if the government executes his last living immediate family member.