His son shot down in the prime of his life, three suspects awaiting trial for murder.
21 year old William Whitsett may be gone, but his father won’t let his death be in vain, and is now working toward saving other lives.
“My worst nightmare came true,” said Bill Whitsett.
That’s how Bill Whitsett remembers December 23, 2014. the day his son was shot three times in the head, and left for dead.
Construction workers found the 21 year old’s body near Georgia Highway 204.
“Nightmarish to say the least to see your son lying on the gurney in that condition,” said Whitsett.
Bill admits admits William wasn’t perfect. He had his flaws, but also his talents – an artist with dreams of going to SCAD to study.
“There’s something missing forever,” said Whitsett. “You simply can’t replace it.”
Now Bill is the only one in Savannah. He moved here soon after the murder.
“I feel like I should be here for this entire process,” said Bill. “I feel like my son needs me here.”
Bill feels like Savannah needs something too.
“I think its very clear Savannah is screaming for a change,” said Whitsett.
That change he says is different, stronger gun laws. That’s why he joined the Brady Campaign movement, which wants to pass laws and help reduce gun violence by 50% in the next ten years.
“If you can save one life its worth the effort,” explains Whitsett. “Educate people to safeguard their weapons, take weapons out of somebody’s hands that wants to cause harm or harm themselves”
Somebody like the three suspects now charged in his son’s murder, 22 year old Bradley Bates, a Fort Stewart soldier, 20 year old Genevieve Meeks and 23 year old Kevin Palmer.
William says he will be here for their trial to hear what happened and hopefully answer some of the questions that still keep him up night.
“Why,” wonders Whitsett. “Why was it necessary for you to take his life? What would justify going to that extreme?”
All three suspects could spend the rest of their lives in jail if convicted of William Whitsett’s murder.
Their trial could start early next year.
The Brady Bill, passed in 1993, mandated federal background checks for anyone buying a handgun.
In the past few years, the Brady Campaign to stop gun violence has successfully lobbied for a federal assault weapons ban, banning the manufacture and importation of so-called military-style assault weapons.
For more information on the Brady Campaign: