He was scheduled to be done a remaining year. However, in an extraordinary move, his sentence turned commuted by Governor Abbott, and he is now serving a life sentence in jail.
Whitaker doesn’t have to get the right of entry to the net or a pc, so Andy Kahan, the Director of Victim Services and Advocacy at Crime Stoppers, turned into amazed when he located an e-book online written via Whitaker.
“It without a doubt shocked me due to the fact I turned into looking around like I do every day to peer what’s happening in the ‘murderabilia’ enterprise and determined that he truly included a book,” stated Kahan. “Not best did he submit an ebook, it’s being sold on what I would pretty a great deal agree on a professional website, called Amazon.”
The book titled “Who Fears Hell Runs Toward It: On the Christian Metaphysical Foundations of the American Penitentiary and the Missing Image of Resistance in Foucault’s Discipline and Punish” touches on prison life in America.
“We’re not speakme a few little flimsily little ‘here’s who I am,’ this is over a 200-web page book that is now being bought on Amazon with the aid of a -time murderer who becomes at the start on death row. That’s troubling,” stated Kahan.
Amazon has a preview of the e-book online. Kahan said from what he’s studying so far, the description doesn’t seem to mention something regarding the crimes he’s convicted of, but it doesn’t mean that the ebook doesn’t contact on it.
“I attempted to examine it. However, I quite frankly gave up as it didn’t make lots of a sense to me, so I had no concept of what he turned into going at aside from a what’s taking place in jail, I bet,” to be in layman’s terms. However, it definitely wasn’t clean reduce,” stated Kahan.
WHAT IS ‘MURDERABILIA’?
Kahan got here up with the period to describe tangible items produced with the aid of high-profile killers and rapists who promote items through open markets and third birthday party dealers.
“They consist mainly of letters, artwork, autographs, even a few mundane objects like hair, fingernails, something that they could produce that receives shipped out that’s put up for sale.,” explained Kahan.
READ: ‘Murderabilia’ caution: Crime Stoppers legitimate works to prevent violent offenders from profiting
“I had no longer visible an ebook; it’s been a long term, I can’t even frankly do not forget the final time I’ve seen an ebook on a good website,” defined Kahan. “I’ve seen some books, but they’re normally self-published on European sites or websites that aren’t taken into consideration to be as mainstream as Amazon. I knew immediately; there’s no manner that Bart Whitaker had approval from jail administrators to be promoting an ebook on Amazon.”
THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE DEPARTMENT RESPONSE
TDCJ stated in a declaration:
“(We are) aware of the e-book this is purportedly written through Thomas Bartlett Whitaker that is being offered for sale. The unbiased Office of Inspector General is presently investigating if any legal guidelines or TDCJ coverage might also be violated.”
According to the TDCJ, indexed beneath is the excerpt from the culprit disciplinary policy that could observe.
• 15.1 Establishing or operating an unauthorized business – the trade of culprit produced goods or services for economic gain to the offender or a 3rd birthday party on behalf of the offender if the pastime:
Creates a chance for the protection, protection, or administration of the business enterprise.
Involves the sale of pornographic depictions that would be denied under the Agency’s Correspondence Rules if introduced to the Agency.
Involves the sale of a depiction, in any medium, of a reenactment of any offense of conviction of the perpetrator.
Involves the sale of tangible belongings the value of that’s expanded by using the notoriety of any offense of conviction of the culprit.
“The bottom line is any inmate who operates a business, and this is basically what he’s doing – he’s selling an e-book – must have approval from prison directors to function a business,” Kahan stated. “I recognize there has been no way in heck that Bart Whitaker either sought permission or could prison officers supply permission because could open a big Pandora’s field for every other inmate.”
HOW DID HE PUBLISH THE BOOK?
Kahan said that’s underneath research. However, stated mail tends to be commonplace manner offenders send out their ‘murderabilia.’
“How did he get this fabric from factor A to factor B?” said Kahan. “There’s a multitude of approaches. I suggest human beings can are available in and visit, U.S. Mail is normally the primary conduit anyhow.”
THE FIRST AMENDMENT
TDCJ stated it’s crucial to note that writing a book isn’t the problem; it’s if an inmate tries to profit from it.
Under the First Amendment, a perpetrator can write something they need, but the topic changes once humans begin selling the writings.
“That’s what’s going to make this a thrilling catch 22 situation and an exciting issue for prison officers and different officials to decide,” stated Kahan regarding the First Amendment and tracking what inmates write.
“Everybody assumes that during this u. S. A. We’ve got what’s commonly called, ‘Son of Sam’ regulation,” said Kahan. “It changed into enacted in 1977, and it becomes based on a serial killer named David Berkowitz. Prison officers had been frightened he changed into selling his rights for books and films and that they exceeded a law prohibiting inmates from promoting their rights for books and movies. That was in effect for 23 years, and then American Supreme Court dominated it unconstitutional because it constrained free speech.”
He said whether or not Whitaker’s case may be challenged, something he could be keeping an eye fixed on.
“It might be fascinating to look at as this proceeds because (of) the book I checked out, it doesn’t seem like descriptive of the crime that he became convicted of doing, and admittedly searching at it, I frankly don’t recognize what he positioned out in writing,” stated Kahan. “It’s going to be charming to observe and see how this is decided and whether or not Whitaker and his group or publishers will task whatever ruling comes approximately as properly.”
WHERE THE BOOK IS SOLD
Kahan stated he’s found different ‘Murderabilia’ on Amazon before and believes it could have fallen through the cracks.
“They’ve had different problems for the duration of the country that I’ve caught them on,” said Kahan. “It changed into a Canadian serial killer that an e-book was pulled from, and I also consider there was any other man or woman, an intercourse perpetrator, that had a how-to e-book, or something on Amazon.”
He plans to notify the business enterprise.
“I think Amazon additionally wishes to be made aware of it, and I have each intention of doing that,” said Kahan. “The backside line is, they’re giving infamy and immortality to a two-time convicted assassin who richly doesn’t deserve it.”
He said no, it’s now not illegal for the e-book to be there, but he believes it comes all the way down to morals.
“Do you need a two-time convicted murderer to be cashing in on his notoriety that he acquired by way of killing human beings? If so, you’re going to open the flood gates for all and sundry else,” stated Kahan. “One of the matters that we always positioned into an angle, you already know that you definitely shouldn’t be capable of murder human beings after which take advantage of your crook behavior. I trust in capitalism, we agree with in unfastened employer, but I assume you bought to attract the road somewhere and whilst you’re convicted of killing not simply one person. Still, individuals, you shouldn’t be capable of making the most of crook behavior. It’s truly that simplistic.”
WHO IS THOMAS “BART” WHITAKER
On Dec. 10, 2003, Patricia Whitaker, 51, and her youngest son, Kevin, 19, have been shot and killed by using an intruder after coming home from a college party for their eldest son, Bart. The father was additionally injured, and Bart claimed he turned into the shot simultaneously as seeking to combat the intruder.
Police might later examine that Bart Whitaker became now not enrolled in college. Whitaker had recruited someone to kill his family, so he should get $1 million in inheritance money.
He fled and became arrested in Mexico on Sept. 22, 2005.
On Feb. 6, 2018, Whitaker’s father stated he had forgiven his son. On Feb 20, 2018, minutes earlier than he turned into to get hold of a deadly injection, Governor Greg Abbott granted him clemency, and Whitaker is now serving life in the back of bars.