Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bart Whitaker took the stand

yesterday in the punishment phase of his trial, having been found guilty of capital murder. He admitted he was the mastermind of the plot to kill his family. I'm not a criminal lawyer, but it seems to be an odd strategy. On the other hand, if the options are life in prison or the death penalty, what does he have to lose by testifying?

But had he pled guilty, wouldn't that have precluded the prosecutor from putting on a parade of witnesses to testify about this plot and other plots in the past? Maybe not. Did Whitaker think he might be found not guilty? "Felcman asked Whitaker why he did not plead guilty to begin with and what would have happened if the jury found him not guilty. 'I didn't think that was possible,' Whitaker said."

Whitaker claims "he is a different person now and has found God."

Does a Christian who knows he is guilty as charged have an obligation to so plead? Is a "not guilty" plea a lie, or just invoking one's rights in a system that requires the prosecution to put on and prove its case?

And what about that last speeding ticket I got where I pled not guilty, hoping the cop wouldn't show at trial (he didn't), and forcing the judge to dismiss the case?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just ran across your blog this morning while googling him. In response to your questoin: Technically, Bart didn't plead not guilty. He refused to enter a plea, so the judge entered not guilty for him. Whatever, just thought I'd point that out. It's legal mumbo-jumbo to me.

I met Bart several times a couple of years ago, and he struck me as a very dangerous person. I spent a couple of enlistments in the Army and met several people who were not "all there" and definitely threats to others. Bart exhibited all of their traits in spades. When I heard about the attack, I turned to my now-wife and told her, "I promise you Bart had something to do with this. Either he's behind it, or he was the target. But, I'll bet he's behind it."

One thing that I have not seen reported in the media was that, at the time, Bart was dating "L." L was a student at UT-Austin while, supposedly, Bart was attending Stephen F. Austin or Sam Houston State (can't remember which). It turned out he had been lying to his parents and glomming tuition and room and board the whole time. The whole time he had been lying to L, also. As far as she knew, she was in a long-distance relationship with a guy who was attending another school. After the truth came out, she had a major mental breakdown. Do you, or anyone out there, know if L testified in his case? I'd be curious to find out what else she had to say. That poor girl has been through the ringer.

Also, this has been a source of discussion among me and my friends who knew Bart and L much better than me: What exactly was Bart doing all along while he wasn't attending class. The consensus has been that he was involved in drug trafficking, but that's really just our own speculation.

Chris in Cypress

Bethlin said...

I also just found the blog this morning while trying to keep up with the Whitaker punishment phase. I knew him in middle school, but even then he was missing something.

Some of our former classmates heard that drug money was the original motivator, but that doesn't track...he planned the murder the first time well before he actually found people to do it right the third time. There are definitely a lot of rumors about his involvement in illegal drug trafficking or delivery, but nothing introduced by the prosecution (yet). This DA seems to be very excited about using the fullest extent of the law, so I can't imagine that would be left out if there were a shred of evidence.

Anonymous said...

I do know "L" and she did testify in this case. She has indeed been put through the ringer, but has come out of this amazingly fine. In fact, she is now happily married to a wonderful young man who has none of the traits or personality issues of a Bart Whitaker. I truly believe that Bart is the definition of the perfect sociopath.