Texas Death Row Inmate Could Be Spared Hours Before Execution

February 22, 2018Feb 22, 2018

Among Christians, there is sharp disagreement over the morality of the death penalty, so a decision by Texas authorities is certain to catch everyone's attention.

NBC News writes that although this kind of news is unusual, reports are coming in that a death row prisoner in Texas could be granted clemency on Thursday. This comes only hours before his scheduled execution. 

Thomas Whitaker, 38, was convicted of masterminding a 2003 ploy to murder his wealthy parents and 19-year-old brother for inheritance money. His father was shot, although he survived and this week recommended to the state patrol board a life sentence rather than death.

NBC News writes that now things are in the hands of Governor Greg Abbott, who must now decide what to do. On the one hand, he can grant clemency. On the other hand, he can buck the parole board and side with local prosecutors, who still think that Whitaker deserves death through the means of lethal injection. 

"I think the most important thing is both I and my staff have the opportunity to evaluate all the facts, all the circumstances, all the law, and base our decision on all of that information," Abbott said, according to CBS News.

"Anytime anybody's life is at stake, that's a very serious matter," Abbott said. "And it deserves very serious consideration on my part."

Abbot's office hasn't yet many any decision, but the scheduled execution is at 6 pm, which means that time is quickly running out. If the governor does decide to grant clemency, then this will be the third time that a Texas governor has done so on grounds such as these. In particular, it will be only the third time since 1976 that a Texas governor has granted clemency on humanitarian grounds. 

CBS News writes that the fate of this convicted Texas killer now rests entirely in the hands of the governor, who on Wednesday was recommended to be spared by the state parole board. The board was comprised of seven members, all of whom are appointed by the governor, who made the unanimous decision on Tuesday that commute the death sentence. 

The last time that such a decision was made came in 2007. In previous cases, Governor Rick Perry — who was no opponent of capital punishment by any means — accepted the board's decision in one case and rejected the other two. 

CBS News claims that it is expected that the governor will make a concrete decision within the next couple of hours. A decision is expected to come because not saying anything, and therefore letting the prisoner die, will most likely result in a due procession violation legal challenge. On top of that, it will look bad to his constituents, who are currently awaiting a response from the governor about Whitaker's fate.

Capital punishment is more common in Texas than any other state.

So far in 2018, at least three prisoners have been in the United States, and all of them have taken place in Texas. Last year, in 2017, a total of 23 convicted killers were executed, with 7 of them residing in Texas.

In recent news, here are the former US presidents invited to Billy Graham's funeral. 

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