Man recalls last hours before son, wife were shot and killed: Part 1

Kent Whitaker and his wife Tricia had gone to dinner with their sons Kevin and Bart to celebrate Bart's college graduation.
6:37 | 02/24/18

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Transcript for Man recalls last hours before son, wife were shot and killed: Part 1
It is ominous. It is cold. It is a place you look at it from the outside and you know what happens inside. Reporter: In a race against time, 38-year-old Thomas "Bart" Whitaker's final days are ticking down on death row. Now, he awaits a destiny that seems all but assured. Execution, by njection. His father, Kent, spends these final days in a desperate hunt for mercy. On this savoring what may be his last visit with his son in prison. As we were leaving, we put our hands up to the glass and he puts his hand up on the other side and we smile and say we love you. And then we left. Reporter: In Texas, a state that executes more prisoners than any other in America, Kent's is a fierce battle against the odds. His love, tested by a terrible twist of fate. The son he is defending plotted the murders of his wife, and his other son. Police say a masked gunman shot the Whitaker family as they returned home from dinner. Mother, Patricia and son, Kevin, were killed. Father Kent and son Bart were shot, but survived. I am the single greatest victim in this crime and nobody has to convince me of how awful the crime was. Death penalty was the right choice in this case. Reporter: The Whitaker story began here, in sugarland, Texas. Where the sweet smell of success brought them everything they desired. It was the sugar industry that transformed this suburban backwater into one of the wealthiest towns in Texas. Sugar Land is affluent suburb of Houston an "all-American" town, a small town. This is a city in which kids play in the street in their front yards, it's a place where you want to raise your children. Get back in line you little nerd! Reporter: The Whitaker family videos paint a warm picture of a loving, prosperous home. Wave to daddy. Reporter: Tricia is a former teacher turned full-time mom. Who's ready for Christmas? Reporter: Every moment seems picture perfect. Brothers inseparable since birth. He looked up to me and wanted to be me. And, I thought that was so ironic because I wanted to be him. They played with each other from the time Kevin was old enough to do it, up until the end. They still did stuff together. Look what you got. Reporter: But who could imagine that inside that adorable little boy, was a ticking time bomb of rage. What was your relationship like with your parents? It was a good relationship. Reporter: We first met Bart Whitaker in 2009, when Bart spoke to former ABC correspondent, Mary Fulginiti about his strange and violent journey. Your family tried to love you. It was idyllic, yeah. Hey Bart, drive down to the stop sign for me. Reporter: Bart's bond with his father, Kent, was especially close. From the moment Bart learned to ride a two-wheeler, he and his father shared a passion for biking. We tried to figure it out one time and ended up with about 15,000 miles that we have ridden together. Reporter: So how did the son of this loving family end up here on death row? I was always an independent child, and I think somewhere along in there -- can we stop for a second? What's bothering you right now? I'm just -- it's all a lot, thinking back on those days. We had a pretty close family. In terms of what was going on inside of me, that was a little different. Never really fit in very well with anybody, to be honest with you. I think everybody knows horrible things can happen, but you just don't expect it. Reporter: December 10, 2003, a time for celebration at the Whitaker residence where Bart receives a extravagant college graduation gift, a Rolex watch. We thought we were celebrating the upcoming graduation of our son. He was supposed to be going to graduate school, going into law enforcement. We got ready for dinner, you know, and went to dinner. Lots of laughter, yeah we were happy and we were teasing each other and -- but then we did that whenever we were together. Reporter: As they celebrate his graduation, only Bart knows that an intruder has quietly entered their home. His deadly plot is about to begin. Entered the house with the key, and the alarm code. Reporter: As Kent snaps photos of his happy family, Bart poses with his favorite dessert, bread pudding, decorated to mark the occasion. Tricia smiling with her sons. Yeah. I took that after we finished eating. I betcha no more than five or ten minutes before we left the restaurant, which is five minutes from our house. Reporter: Bart smiles. And yet, he knows that if everything goes as planned, in less than 30 minutes his brother, his mother and father will all be dead. I don't -- really know a better term for how I was feeling, other than I was on auto-pilot. I wasn't even aware of myself. We left the restaurant and drove back to the house. And when we came back, Kevin led the way to the front door and Trish was behind him. And when he stepped in, that's when the shootings happened. I went out to my car to get my cell phone. And I was walking back from the car when the first shots happened. I had been at church with my family eating dinner and had just gotten home and my pager went off, telling me to call the police department. Reporter: Sergeant Marshall slot is a homicide detective. On any ordinary day, not much business for him in this town. Sugar Land for years has been known as one of the safest cities in America. For the police, this is not something the likes of which they've ever seen before. The dispatcher told me that four people had been shot, I initially thought she was joking with me. And I said, "You're kidding, right?" And she said, "No. I need you to respond to sugar Lakes. A family of four has been shot." Reporter: But why would a kid who had it all try to kill both of his parents? Someone's just shot my

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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