HUNTSVILLE, Tex. (AP) -- A convicted killer spared from execution by Texas' governor says he's "thankful" because of what it means for his dad.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday accepted the state parole board's recommendation and spared the life of Thomas "Bart" Whitaker. The move by Abbott came shortly before the 38-year-old Whitaker was set for execution 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 but has long has favored clemency for his son, saying he's forgiven him.
Whitaker said in a statement to prison officials: "I'm thankful not for me but for my dad." He went on to say, "Any punishment that I would have or will receive is just, but my dad did nothing wrong."
It's the first time in more than a decade that a Texas governor has halted an imminent execution. Whitaker will instead serve life in prison.