JR went to high school with a guy named Bart. He didn’t really know him, only saw him at parties. Everyone who knew him, that I’ve talked to, said how smart his was. Sure, he did drugs, and sometimes was lost in his own little word, but he was harmless. In 2001, Bart went to dinner with him parents and younger brother to celebrate his college graduation. They ate, then went home. Bart’s little brother went to the door and opened it. He was shot in the chest as soon as the door opened. His mother was right behind him and shot as well. They shot Bart’s father, and then Bart. It seemed as if it was a burglary gone wrong. Bart’s mom and brother died, Bart and his father lived.
The community was devastated. Over 1000 people came to the funeral. Sugar Land was sad, but also angry. They wanted to find the murderers. Bart and his father worked with the police to find who killed their family.
But, as time went on some things didn’t add up. The valuables in the house weren’t touched. The gun that was used was from Bart’s family. The burglars pried open a safe in a remote part of the house to get it. Then, more surprises. Bart wasn’t about to graduate. In fact, he was still considered a freshman. He had all but dropped out of college. So why was he lying?
By this point, the police were looking at the possibly that the murderers were a set up. And that Bart was at the head of the set up. One night, someone called into the police station and gave them the break they needed. It was a guy who went to high school with Bart and he brought a layout of Bart’s house. He said that Bart asked him to kill his family. And, as time went on, the police learned that he wasn’t the only one Bart asked. Two of Bart’s college roommates were also recruited to kill Bart’s family. They even tried, but when they tried to open the window to get in the house, an alarm went off.
Then the police found the man who drove the getaway car. He worked with Bart over the summer. Bart told him he would split the $1.5 million life insurance policy with him. Word on the street was that this guy was in the military and they got it out of him. Anyway, he led them to the guy who actually shot the gun.
This was 7 months after the shootings. Then Bart disappeared. Turns out he met a guy at a restaurant where he worked. This guy gave Bart his name, and the number of his family in Mexico. Bart paid him $5,000 for this information. Bart had moved to a remote town in Mexico, got a job and started dating a girl. He lived there for 14 months, telling people that he was an only child, that his parents hated him, that his mother was a prostitute. The guy went to the police for the $10,000 reward that the police offered. Bart was arrested.
Throughout this whole ordeal, Bart’s dad kept saying that he forgave whoever did this to his family. But, could he say the same when he found out that his son was the one? That this wasn’t the result of a night of partying, but a plot that Bart had been developing for years?
Bart was put on trial, and after only 10 hours of deliberation, the jury gave him the death penalty. Bart’s dad has stood by him throughout the whole thing.
The reason I’m telling you this, is because they filed a 48 Hour Mystery episode about the whole thing. They replayed it last night.
I can’t imagine what Bart’s dad must be going through. His faith, one that was very pronounced and well-known by his friends, must have been shaken. But, he has forgiven Bart. And he doesn’t want to see him put to death. Of course, the law doesn’t really care what he wants.
Would you be able to forgive someone who plotted to kill your family, especially if it was your own son? I’m not sure I would. But I have so much respect for those who can.
Bart has a blog, and although it hasn’t been updated in a while, it’s very interesting to read his thoughts. It really makes you think about your life, and what you’re capable of.
Minutes Before Six