For the first time in more than a decade, a Texas governor has halted an imminent execution. 38 year-old Thomas "Bart" Whitaker was set to be executed on Thursday evening when at the last minute, Texas Governor Grgeg Abbott accepted the state parole board's recommendation to spare the life of the convicted killer. Back in December of 2003, Whittaker was found to be the mastermind behind a plot to murder his parents and younger brother at the family's home in Houston. Whitaker staged the crime to actually look like he was also a victim in the scenario. Whitaker's father survived the crime and after an investigation, authorities shockingly found the son to be one of the attack's planners.

Even from the time he was in the hospital recovering, Thomas Whitaker's father,Kent Whitaker, had decided he would forgive whoever was responsible for the crime and believed God would want him to do so. Kent Whitaker and the rest of the extended family have long been fighting for clemency for Thomas, and their prayers were finally answered this week. Tuesday night the parole board voted to have his death sentence reduced, and the Texas Governor went ahead and halted the execution. Kent Whitaker has thanked Governor Abbott and his son says he is thankful as well, but not for himself:

"I'm thankful not for me but for my dad. Any punishment that I would have or will receive is just, but my dad did nothing wrong."

Thomas "Bart" Whitaker will not serve the rest of his life behind bars.