His father has forgiven him, and the the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is hoping the state will grant clemency as well. Now, the governor has less than 12 hours to determine the fate of Thomas “Bart” Whitaker.

The board unanimously recommended Tuesday that Whitaker get a stay of execution. Gov. Greg Abbott could accept the recommendation, reject it or do nothing.

Whitaker is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Thursday, Feb. 22, for arranging the 2003 fatal shootings of his brother and mother in a murder-for-hire plot to collect inheritance that rocked Sugar Land.

According to, Abbot’s office did not respond Wednesday to questions about the Whitaker case.

His father, Kent, was also shot in the attack, he hopes Bart can avoid the death penalty.

RELATED: Bart Whitaker wanted to kill his entire family, but his surviving father wants his son home in Sugar Land

“It’s important to understand he is not going to be pardoned,” said James Rytting, Whitaker’s attorney. “The best he can hope for is a very harsh punishment. This is a stunning result, but one that is entirely mature and reasonable. Victims’ rights should mean more than revenge in Texas.”

This is only the fourth time since 1982 that the board made this type of recommendation.

In two of the cases, then-Gov. Rick Perry rejected the appeals.

Meanwhile, prosecutors are worried that, should the governor intervene, he will have “ignored” justice.


“If he goes ahead and goes along with this, then it’s a total injustice, absolute injustice on this. [If] he will ignore 12 people, the jury verdict, [then] he will ignore the victims,” prosecutor Fred Felcman told Eyewitness News.

RELATED: The mastermind behind a Sugar Land inheritance scheme is set for execution

Anna Caplan contributes to Rare Houston and Rare Animals. 
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