Governor Abbott commutes death sentence of Thomas Bartlett Whita - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Governor Abbott commutes death sentence of Thomas Bartlett Whitaker

Official seal, State of Texas Governor Official seal, State of Texas Governor

Provided by Office of the Texas Governor

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today issued a proclamation commuting the death sentence of Thomas Bartlett Whitaker following a unanimous decision by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Thomas Bartlett Whitaker will now serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Governor Abbott released the following statement:

"As a former trial court judge, Texas Supreme Court Justice and Attorney General involved in prosecuting some of the most notorious criminals in Texas, I have the utmost regard for the role that juries and judges play in our legal system. The role of the Governor is not to second-guess the court process or re-evaluate the law and evidence. Instead, the Governor's role under the Constitution is distinct from the judicial function. The Governor's role is to consider recommendations by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and view matters through a lens broader than the facts and law applied to a single case. That is particularly important in death penalty cases.

"In just over three years as Governor, I have allowed 30 executions. I have not granted a commutation of a death sentence until now, for reasons I here explain.

"The murders of Mr. Whitaker's mother and brother are reprehensible. The crime deserves severe punishment for the criminals who killed them. The recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and my action on it, ensures Mr. Whitaker will never be released from prison.

"The decision of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is supported by the totality of circumstances in this case. The person who fired the gun that killed the victims did not receive the death penalty, but Mr. Whitaker, who did not fire the gun, did get the death penalty. That factor alone may not warrant commutation for someone like Mr. Whitaker who recruited others to commit murder. Additional factors make the decision more complex.

"Mr. Whitaker's father, who survived the attempt on his life, passionately opposes the execution of his son. Mr. Whitaker's father insists that he would be victimized again if the state put to death his last remaining immediate family member. Also, Mr. Whitaker voluntarily and forever waived any and all claims to parole in exchange for a commutation of his sentence from death to life without the possibility of parole. Moreover, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously voted for commutation. The totality of these factors warrants a commutation of Mr. Whitaker's death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Mr. Whitaker must spend the remainder of his life behind bars as punishment for this heinous crime."

RELATED LINK: Read Governor Abbott's proclamation

  • Local News on KCBD.comNewsMore>>

  • 2-year-old with cancer gets surprise daddy-daughter dance

    2-year-old with cancer gets surprise daddy-daughter dance

    Tuesday, August 21 2018 2:09 PM EDT2018-08-21 18:09:26 GMT
    The little girl is at a children's cancer center in Atlanta fighting a type of acute leukemia. (Source: Facebook/Christina Thompson/CNN)The little girl is at a children's cancer center in Atlanta fighting a type of acute leukemia. (Source: Facebook/Christina Thompson/CNN)

    The little girl is at a children's cancer center in Atlanta fighting a type of acute leukemia.

    The little girl is at a children's cancer center in Atlanta fighting a type of acute leukemia.

  • Microsoft uncovers more Russian hacking ahead of midterms

    Microsoft uncovers more Russian hacking ahead of midterms

    Tuesday, August 21 2018 12:25 AM EDT2018-08-21 04:25:35 GMT
    Tuesday, August 21 2018 2:05 PM EDT2018-08-21 18:05:47 GMT
    (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File). FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2017, file photo, a man is silhouetted as he walks in front of Microsoft logo at an event in New Delhi, India. Microsoft says it’s uncovered new Russian hacking attempts targeting U.S. political grou...(AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File). FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2017, file photo, a man is silhouetted as he walks in front of Microsoft logo at an event in New Delhi, India. Microsoft says it’s uncovered new Russian hacking attempts targeting U.S. political grou...

    The hacking attempts mirror similar Russian attacks ahead of the 2016 election, which U.S. intelligence officials have said were focused on helping to elect Republican Donald Trump to the presidency by hurting his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

    The hacking attempts mirror similar Russian attacks ahead of the 2016 election, which U.S. intelligence officials have said were focused on helping to elect Republican Donald Trump to the presidency by hurting his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

  • US deports ex-Nazi guard, 95, to Germany after long wait

    US deports ex-Nazi guard, 95, to Germany after long wait

    Tuesday, August 21 2018 4:18 AM EDT2018-08-21 08:18:16 GMT
    Tuesday, August 21 2018 2:05 PM EDT2018-08-21 18:05:09 GMT
    The deportation of the 95-year-old former concentration camp guard, Jakiw Palij, came 25 years after investigators first confronted him about his World War II past and he admitted lying to get into the U.S. (Source: Department of Justice)The deportation of the 95-year-old former concentration camp guard, Jakiw Palij, came 25 years after investigators first confronted him about his World War II past and he admitted lying to get into the U.S. (Source: Department of Justice)

    The White House says a 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard has been deported to Germany, 14 years after a judge ordered him deported.

    The White House says a 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard has been deported to Germany, 14 years after a judge ordered him deported.

Powered by Frankly