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Rare executions of Brandon Bernard during the transition

Brandon Bernard, a member of the Texas street gang, was executed in 1999 for killing Iowa’s religious couple Todd and Stacy Bagley at the age of 18.

Telehort, Iowa — Thursday’s Trump administration executed its ninth federal execution this year, killing members of a street gang in Texas during the president’s lame duck for the first time in 130 years. A religious couple from Iowa over 20 years ago.

Four more federal executions are planned, including Friday, weeks before President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Brandon Bernard’s case of receiving a lethal injection of Phenobalbital in the execution room of a US prison in Terre Haute, Indiana was a rare execution of a teenager when the crime was committed.

Several celebrities, including reality show star Kim Kardashian West, have sentenced President Donald Trump to life imprisonment for Bernard.

Looking from behind the glass barrier, witnesses declared that 40-year-old Bernard died at 9:27 EST.

Bernard spoke his last words to the family of the couple he killed, surprisingly calmly for someone who knew he was dying. “I’m sorry,” he said, raising his head and looking through the window of the witness room. “That’s the only word that gives a complete picture of how I feel now and how I felt that day.”

Bernard spoke for more than three minutes and said he was waiting for this opportunity to apologize for the pain he caused not only to the victim’s family but also to his own. Earlier, he described his role in the murder, “I wish I could get it all back, but I can’t.”

Bernard was 18 years old and he and four other teenagers kidnapped and robbed Todd and Stacy Bagley on their way from a Sunday service in Killeen, Texas. Despite a coronavirus outbreak in a US prison, Trump resumed federal executions in July after a 17-year hiatus.

Alfred Bourgeois, a 56-year-old Louisiana truck driver, will die on Friday after repeatedly hitting his two-year-old daughter’s head against a truck window and dashboard to kill him. Bourgeois lawyers claimed he was mentally retarded and therefore not subject to the death penalty, but some courts said the evidence did not support the claim.

Prior to Bernard’s execution, Kardashian West tweeted that she had spoken to him before. Brandon, as usual, selfless, focused on his family and confirmed that they were okay. He told me not to cry because our fight is not over. “

Related: Trump solidifying the legacy of the death penalty until Biden took office

Related: New DOJ rules may allow gas and firing squad for executions in the United States

And just before the execution was scheduled, Bernard’s attorney filed a document with the Supreme Court seeking a suspension of the execution. The legal team has expanded to include two very prominent attorneys. Alan Dershowitz is part of Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team and clients include OJ Simpson, Claus von Bülow and Mike Tyson. Ken Star, the most famous independent prosecutor who defended Trump during the impeachment and led Bill Clinton’s investigation.

However, about two and a half hours after the execution was scheduled, the Supreme Court rejected the request and clarified how to proceed with the execution.

Bernard is crocheting in prison and has launched a convict on death row crochet group where death row prisoners share patterns for making sweaters, blankets and hats, said Ashley Kincaid Eve, an activist against the death row. Stated.

Eve forwarded the latest communication between The Associated Press Bernard and her on Wednesday, where he wrote, “I feel good today!” Eve, an Indianapolis-based lawyer who does not represent Bernard, said he had not resigned from the death penalty as much as others who were executed this year.

“He desperately wants to live,” she said.

Federal enforcement during the transfer of power to the president is also rare, especially during the transition from a supporter of the death penalty to a president-elect like Biden, who opposes the death penalty. The last death penalty during the lame duck era was during the 1890s President Grover Cleveland.

The defense lawyer claimed that Bernard was a subordinate obedient member of the group, both in court and in a petition for amnesty from Trump. They say both Bagleys were probably dead before Bernard poured a light liquid into their car and set it on fire. This is a claim that contradicts the government’s testimony in court. They say Bernard has repeatedly expressed remorse.

“I can’t imagine how they feel about losing their family,” Bernard said in a 2016 video statement from the death row prison cell about Bagley’s relatives who survived. “I wish all of us could come back and change that.” He also said about participating in a youth engagement program and accepting religion, “I’m a better person since that day. I’ve been trying to be. “

The case was one of his 2000 trials, which currently states that racial prejudice may have affected the imposition of nearly all white juries in the death sentence against black Bernard. He urged Trump’s request for intervention, including intervention from the prosecutor. Since then, some juries have publicly stated that they regret not choosing life imprisonment instead.

Kardashian West said in a recent series of tweets that Bernard’s “role was minor compared to the roles of other teenagers.”

The Justice Department has executed Bernard’s execution on Thursday, another prisoner on Friday, and three in January, even after eight officials who participated in the execution last month tested positive for the coronavirus. Refused to delay. Eight federal executions in 2020 have already exceeded the total for the last 56 years.

Christopher Vialba, one of Bernard’s co-defendants, was executed in September. Georgia, Todd Bagley’s mother, issued a statement after the execution, stating that “if someone deliberately kills another, they will suffer the consequences of their actions.” ..

Prosecutors said Bernard was the mastermind behind the shooting of Bagley, the oldest teenager at the age of 19, as he lay in the trunk before he lit the car.

A teenager approached Bagleys on the afternoon of June 21, 1999, stopped at a convenience store, and then asked for an elevator. I was planning to rob the couple. After Bagleys agreed, Vialva pulled the gun and pushed it into the trunk.

Both in their twenties, Bagley spoke through the backseat opening and urged the kidnapper to accept Jesus, who had been driving for hours trying to use his ATM card. After the teens pulled to the side of the road, Vialba walked back and shot Bagley in his head.

The central issue in the decision to sentence Bernard to death was whether the gunshot of Vialba or the fire set by Bernard killed Bagley.

Evidence from the trial showed that Todd Bagley probably died immediately. However, government experts said Stacy Bagley had soot in her airways. This indicates that smoke inhalation, not gunshots, killed her. The defense lawyer said the allegations were not proven. They also said Bernard believed that both Bagleys were dead and were afraid of the consequences of rejecting the superior Vialba’s order to burn the car to destroy the evidence.

The first series of federal death sentences during the summer belonged to white men, and critics said they appeared to have been calculated to reduce controversy in the summer protests over racism. Four of the five prisoners who will die before Biden’s inauguration on January 20 are black men. The fifth is a white woman, who will be the first female prisoner to be executed by the federal government in nearly 60 years.

Federal prosecutor Angel Moore, who recently sought life imprisonment for Bernard, said a recent study found that people tend to blame blacks more than whites if the facts surrounding the crime are the same, young black men. The jury, who said there are few, is immature and may benefit from suspicion.

A jury, whose 2016 written statement was included in the White House petition, still believes Bernard was responsible for “a terrifying decision with terrifying consequences,” but “Brandon is 18 years old. I don’t think we should be executed for the bad choices we make at times. ” .. “

Bernard’s 16-year-old daughter warned her father to stay away from the wrong crowd and told her that one bad decision could ruin your life.

“I want and want the president to save my father’s life,” she added.

Rare executions of Brandon Bernard during the transition

Source link Rare executions of Brandon Bernard during the transition

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