I first heard about Kent Whitaker and Murder By Family when he appeared on the Oprah show recently. After watching the show I really wanted to read the book. This is a true story and it happened to the Whitaker Family.
The story is about the Whitaker family, (mother)Tricia, (father) Kent, and their two sons Bart and Kevin. The story starts out when the family went out to celebrate what was thought to be Bart finishing college. Unfortunately this is the last time that they will be together. When they return home there is a masked gunman waiting in the house. Tricia and Kevin are shot and killed instantly, Kent gets shot in his shoulder, and Bart one in the upper arm, fracturing the bone. The gunman escapes.
Kent had wondered who would do this to his family. They had no enemies.
The motive for the shootings was that the family interrupted a robbery in progress and that it gone wrong. That theory didn’t seem strong as nothing has been touched and the house didn’t look like it.
As Kent goes on trying to live through the next few days and weeks he begins realizes that the police are zeroing in on Bart as their prime and only suspect. With Bart’s trouble past the fingers point to him. A part of Kent doesn’t believe that Bart could actually do this to his family and another part wonders what went wrong to make Bart want to do this. When Bart discovers he is about to be questioned he takes off to Mexico and lives there for 15 months until he is arrested and returned home.
When Kent realizes that Bart is wearing a mask. Meaning that Bart was one way around the family, one way around his girlfriend and her family and one with school and friends. He begins to realize that maybe Bart did have a part in the murders.
Murder by Family is a remarkable book and I truly enjoyed reading and I had a hard time putting it down. Kent Whitaker is a very remarkable man. For a person/father to not only show great courage in writing this book, (which he was reluctant to write at first cause he just wanted privacy after his ordeal, but God played the part in him writing the book) but he also showed forgiveness for the actions of his son.
Kent is a deeply religious Christin man and it is through those convictions that he is able to forgive his son for the deaths of Tricia and Kevin. You can see his strong faith through out the book.
What surprised me about this story was that Bart had tried twice before to have his parents killed. Both times they were warned and didn’t really seem to take the threats seriously. Also what kind of surprised me was how long it took the police took to build their case. I spoke with a friend who is a police officer and he told me that yes sometimes it can take that long to build up their case and that it sometimes doesn’t happen over night. This is real life and not a tv show.
To this very day Bart sits in cell on Texas’ Death Row awaiting his death by lethal injection. This was another blow to Kent and the family because Kent argued long and hard for Bart to be given life imprisonment rather than the death penalty.
Also included in the book is some great photos of the family young and old. It makes the story seem that much more real.
You can buy a copy from Amazon.
You can also check out Kent’s website.
Also I want to send congratulations to Kent and Tanya Youngling who will be getting married this upcoming weekend May 9th.
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