The United States Government executed this Thursday Brandon Bernard, the second man sentenced to death for his involvement in the 1999 murder of a religious married couple in Texas. To Bernard, an African American 40 years, declared him dead at 21:27 local time (04:27 on Friday GMT) after receiving a lethal injection in the prison of Terre Haute (Indiana), as reported by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP, in English).
Bernard’s execution received a lot of media attention after the television celebrity Kim Kardashian, who has stood out for his interest in the criminal justice system, advocate to the outgoing president, Donald Trump, for the commutation of his sentence. “Although Brandon was involved in this crime, his role was minor compared to that of the other teens involved, two of whom have already been released from jail and are at home, “said Kardashian in one of multiple tweets.
Bernard was involved with several friends in the June 1999 murder of Todd y Stacie Bagley, a married couple of preachers from Iowa who had traveled to Texas for a religious event. Bernard’s group, led by Christopher Vialva, took advantage of the fact that the Bagleys had stopped in order to use a phone booth to ask them to hitchhike.
Once inside the vehicle, the youths reduced the Bagleys and locked them in the trunk as they drove ATMs trying to extract money from her credit cards and pawn Stacie’s wedding ring. According to documents from the Department of Justice, being locked in the trunk, “the couple spoke with their kidnappers about God and begged for their lives.”
But at one point the young they decided to end their lives: It was Christopher Vialva who opened the trunk and shot them, and then they set the vehicle on fire. According to the indictment, Stacie Bagley was still alive when the vehicle was set ablaze. Given that the murders occurred within the domains of the Fort Hood military base in Texas, it was the federal justice system that took on the cases of Bernard and his accomplices.
In addition to Bernard, Vialva was sentenced to death (executed on September 24), while four other men who were minors at the time of the events reached agreements with prosecutors.
In the days leading up to his execution, five of the nine jurors who sentenced him to death and the prosecutor in charge of the case, Angela Moore, also advocated commuting Bernard’s death sentence in exchange for a chain sentence. life. His attorney, Robert C. Owen, said in a statement Thursday that “Brandon committed a terrible mistake When I was 18. But he didn’t kill anyone, and he never stopped feeling shame and deep remorse for his criminal acts that claimed the lives of Todd and Stacie Bagley. ”
Bernard’s was the ninth execution ordered by the Donald Trump administration during the second half of the year, the first in almost two decades within the federal system and an unprecedented run since the reintroduction of the death penalty four decades ago.
In addition, it was the sixteenth execution of the year in the United States, nine federal and seven state. Since the Supreme Court restored the death penalty in 1976, 1,528 prisoners have been executed in the country, although only twelve of them at the hands of the federal government.
US Attorney General William Barr has scheduled four more executions before he takes office on January 20. Democrat Joe Biden, who advocates the abolition of the death penalty. The next of the four executions is scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, while the other three for the week of January 11, Trump’s last in the White House.