Murder by Family
by Kent Whitaker

This book is not an easy read. It is difficult to grasp how a young man who had been given so much in life became a murderer who killed his own mother, brother, and attempted to kill his father. The book cover says and I quote, "The Incredible True Story of a Son's Treachery and a Father's Forgiveness."

This book takes you through all the details of a father's view of what happened on December 10, 2003 - a night that forever changed the life of so many, even though only two people died. The father, Kent Whitaker, writes the story of his own "Absalom." The reader is reminded that David's son raised an army whose main goal was to kill his father so Absalom could claim the throne. He pointed out that "David loved and forgave his son, crying bitter tears at the news of his death." (page xi in the introduction)

The actual murders are only the beginning of this book. Kent Whitaker relives all the things that were revealed as the murder investigation takes place. The horror as he realizes his own son, Bart, may be involved in the murder of his own mother and brother. The effect that all this has on those who loved Bart, like the grandparents, Bart's fiancée, neighbors, and friends, come to be looked at and written down. It is not a pretty story. Maybe it was a kind of therapy for Kent Whitaker to write this book. He says on the last page that, "I made the decision long ago that this was going to be God's story, and that his faithfulness, grace, and power were to be its focus." I will accept that, for this father loves and forgives his son.

If you read this book, you will decide if you think the son, Bart, truly repents of his crime. Kent Whitaker, believes his son has changed. He believes Bart has repented and that God has forgiven him. This son is all Kent has left of his family so I understand how important it is for him to believe this. Do I really think Bart has had an experience with God?

You will have to read this book and decide for yourself if Bart is a changed person. If Bart has repented, God will forgive. Remember the thief on the cross. The prosecution did not think Bart was sorry and sought the death penalty.

Houston, Texas was the place it happened, but newspapers have made the results of the trial known and television has gotten all the footage of this tragedy to broadcast in America and worldwide. Forty Eight Hours of Mystery is a program revealing both.

Bettye Rosser
Reviewed by Bettye Rosser