Texas Gov. Abbott grants clemency hours before scheduled execution

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Its decision, in part, was based on the pleas from Kent Whitaker, who met this morning with his son for what might have been the very last time.

On Tuesday, the board announced it had made the unanimous decision to recommend the death sentence be commuted, the Associated Press reported.

He began to cry when the board announced that it agreed the man should not be sentenced to death.

In his statement before the parole board, Hampton likened the situation to the Biblical Cain and Abel, referencing that God's punishment for Cain was not death, but a life of suffering. Almost 150 Texas executions have taken place since then.

He said the prosecution's argument that the death penalty should be carried out in the name of Trisha and Kevin is invalid as it is "the last thing they would want". It's unclear whether Abbott will accept or reject it.

On Tuesday night, Abbott said the decision deserved serious consideration. The recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and my action on it, ensures Mr. Whitaker will never be released from prison.

Brent Whitaker, a Texas man who hired a gunman to kill his entire family, was waiting Thursday for a last-minute reprieve after his father - whom he tried to murder - pleaded for his son's life.

Evidence showed the murder plot included two of his friends and was at least his third attempt to kill his family.

Whitaker's father, Kent, also was shot in the attack but survived. "They would be horrified at what's happening", Whitaker said.

His office was silent midday Wednesday about the Whitaker case.

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However, The Jerusalem Post reports that senior Likud figures have dismissed such talk as "political tactics". "Gerstl voiced dismay, but told Hayut she could not elaborate further or identify the people involved".

State Rep. Joe Moody, a Democrat from El Paso who chairs the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, sent a letter to Abbott Thursday saying that he understood the jury's desire to carry out the ultimate punishment, but asked the governor to grant clemency.

"The board did the hard work of examining how the offender has conducted himself since then and what impact his execution would have on the surviving victim, his father, who's already lost his wife and other son", Moody said.

It was the first time a Texas governor has granted clemency in more than 10 years and 140 executions.

However, after a bitter legal battle, a court finally ruled on Tuesday that Hamm's execution will go ahead, on condition that he is injected in his legs or feet - instead of his arms or hands, as would usually be the case.

It marks the first time since 2007 that the Texas board has recommended clemency for a death row inmate.

"Victims' rights should mean something in this state, even when the victim is asking for mercy and not vengeance", Kent Whitaker told the Texas Tribune when he heard the decision.

Whitaker could avoid execution without Abbott.

The U.S. Supreme Court previous year refused to review appeals in Whitaker's case.

Since US executions resumed in 1977, there have been 13 instances of three executions on the same day - most recently on January 7, 2010, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

If Whitaker loses on all fronts, he will become the fourth man executed in Texas in 2018.

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