At first, all Kent Whitaker could think about was retribution – getting back at the masked attacker who’d gunned down his wife and youngest boy, almost killing Kent as well. Now Kent Whitaker is asking the Texas governor to stay the upcoming execution of the man convicted of planning the massacre – his son Thomas.
Thomas is currently on death row and set to be executed in late February for coordinating the shooting deaths of his mother, Tricia Whitaker, and younger bother, Kevin Whitaker, in their Sugar Land home in 2003.
According to prosecutors, on the night of December 10, 2003, 23-year-old Thomas Whitaker lured his family out to dinner. An accomplice entered the home and, when they returned, the accomplice opened fire, killing Kevin Whitaker and Tricia Whitaker, and almost killing Kent Whitaker. Thomas was also injured in the attack.
“At the time,” Whitaker says, “all I wanted to do was to inflict as much pain as possible on this person that had taken my wife and son, and tried to kill me and my other son.”
Kent Whitaker says his faith has driven him to push for his son’s clemency.
“While the law is there and they could choose to follow the death penalty as they did, it isn’t mandatory, especially since every victim – I mean I’m not talking about just me, but I’m talking about my wife’s family and all of my family, everyone – pleaded with the district attorney not to pursue the death penalty in this case and they did it anyway,” Whitaker says.
He says the forgiveness is a miracle he can’t explain. If the execution takes place as schedule on Feb. 22, he says he’s not sure how he’ll react.
“My friends who are counselors say that it could be really horrible,” he says. “They say that I’m going to be thrown back into the loss of the night of the shootings.”
Written by Jen Rice.