Father to try and stop son's execution in Tuesday meeting
When Kent Whitaker makes the two-and-a-half-plus hour drive from the Houston area to Austin on Tuesday, he's going to do it with one thing in mind: save his son's life.
Whitaker's son, Bart, is currently sitting on death row, just ten days from his scheduled execution on February 22.
"I start re-living that night, now that we're approaching the execution," Whitaker said.
Whitaker will be meeting with the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole on Tuesday, to try and convince the state his son should serve a life sentence, not the death penalty.
"He's the last living member of my family, and if this execution proceeds, it's going to mean the state of Texas is going to take him from us in a way nobody wants," Whitaker said.
In 2003, the Whitaker family just returned home from dinner, when a shooter was waiting for them from inside their home.
That gunman shot all four family members, including Bart.
Kent survived, despite being hit just inches from his heart.
Kent's wife, Patricia, and younger son, Kevin, both died.
Soon, police would learn Bart was the one who planned this attack, and was only shot as a diversion.
"I get nightmares still. It's the worst night of my life," Whitaker said.
Bart Whitaker was convicted in 2008.
Despite this attack, Whitaker says he, nor any other family member, asked for the death penalty in this case, pleading with the district attorney to consider a life sentence without parole, and that they have been working to change this sentence in the decade since.
"There's been so much that I've lost," Whitaker said. "We're not asking to set him free. We're just asking to let him live."
Whitaker has sent a petition to the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole, asking them to reconsider the death sentence.
CBS Austin reached out to the board, asking what would be discussed in the meeting, and if a decision would be made. They have not responded.
In the meantime, Whitaker is hoping this last push to save his son works, and that Bart's execution would be yet another blow to the family.
"We're going to end up having to work through that grief as well, realizing I'm going to lose the last connection I have to Trish and Kevin," Whitaker said.