Gov. Abbott spares death row inmate whose father asked for clemency


HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has accepted the state parole board’s recommendation and is sparing the life of convicted killer Thomas “Bart” Whitaker.

The 38-year-old Whitaker was set for execution Thursday evening for masterminding a murder plot that took the lives of his mother and younger brother at the family home in suburban Houston in 2003. His father also was wounded in the shootings and has favored clemency for his son, saying he’s forgiven him.

The seven-member parole board Tuesday unanimously recommended Whitaker’s death sentence be reduced.

Prosecutors who convinced a jury to send him to death row said the parole board’s decision was wrong and negated the jurors’ verdict.

It’s the first time in more than a decade that a Texas governor has halted an imminent execution.

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