Murderer's Execution Brings No Closure To East Texas Family
His son was murdered nine years ago in East Texas. Last night, he watched through the glass, as final, ultimate justice was brought to his son's killer. The crime was committed in April of 1997 on Lake Tyler's Sandy Beach. The family says they've been waiting all this time, for their loved one's killer to pay for his crime but they say his execution did not give them any closure.
Yesterday, the killer, Justin Fuller was transported to Huntsville State Penitentiary where he was given a lethal injection. Fuller and three others robbed, kidnapped, tortured and shot Donald Whittington III. He was 22 years old.
KLTV 7 News was the only station that spoke with the victim's father just minutes after Fuller was pronounced dead. Following the execution of his son's killer, Donald Whittington Junior told us justice was not served. "The only closure I could feel is if my son comes knocking on my door and says I'm home," said Whittington Jr.
Whittington Jr., his wife and daughter made the trip to Huntsville yesterday. A few officials from the Smith County D.A.'s office, including District Attorney Matt Bingham, accompanied the family for support. The family spent about an hour waiting inside Huntsville Penitentiary, before going into the death chamber viewing room. Bingham says during the time they waited, the family chatted with each other and with officials. "The family was reflecting a lot on the victim and just kind of what the day meant to them. At times, we'd talk about stuff totally unrelated to that. So, it was just a time to sort of prepare them for it and reflect on it," said Bingham.
Whittington Jr. said Fuller never acknowledged them before he was executed, didn't even look at them. "He showed no remorse during court. He showed no remorse being injected," said Whittington, Jr. "I still didn't get my question answered, why?"
He says even worse, his son was killed by people who were his friends. "It makes me say, 'I ain't got no more friends', because friends is what did it. Not enemies, friends. Friends he took out to dinner two nights before they killed him," said Whittington, Jr.
"What they did to my son was inhumane. He didn't get no kind of chances to appeal it, or nothing, or get out of it. They just took him out there and did it."
Before he was injected, Fuller was asked if he wanted to make a statement. He said: "Yes, I do. I would like to tell my family thank you for your support, and my friends. And let everyone know that you must stay strong for each other. Take care of yourselves. That's it, Warden."
Eight minutes later, at 6:18 p.m., Fuller was pronounced dead.
Fuller's family also attended the execution. His father, mother brother, two friends and a spiritual advisor watched through a window a few feet away. Their room was next to the Whittington's but neither family could see each other. After he was injected with the lethal drugs, Fuller looked at his parents and brother and said, "I love you."