The case of Brandon Bernard, Executed at the U.S. Penitentiary!
Ignoring pleas for clemency from many, the U.S federal government executed death row inmate Brandon Bernard on Thursday night as scheduled. The 40 years old man was convicted in 1999, for the role he played in the robbery and murder of Todd and Stacie Bagley when he was 18.
This picture from 1995, shows the awful execution chamber in the Terre Haute prison where Bernard was executed.
Bernard was killed by lethal injection in a death chamber in Terre Haute prison in Indiana, as witnesses watched through a glass barrier. Bernard was pronounced dead at 9:27 pm Eastern time. The people present during execution later reported that the inmate showed no signs of fear or distress and he spoke lucidly. His last words were directed towards the family of the victims.
— Mike Balsamo (@MikeBalsamo1) December 11, 2020
Bernard said, “I’m sorry; that’s the only words that I can say that completely capture how I feel now and how I felt that day.” Speaking for than three minutes, he said he had been waiting for his chance to apologize for the pain he had caused to the victims’ family and his own. “I wish I could take it all back, but I can’t,” he had said earlier.
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Bernard’s death has caused an uproar on social media. A campaign was run by his lawyers that had garnered the attention of many influential people, who all urged President Donald Trump to change Bernard’s sentence from execution to life in prison. Over 50,000 people have signed the petition but to no avail.
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I’m so messed up right now.
They killed Brandon.
He was such a reformed person. So hopeful and positive until the end. More importantly he is sorry, so sorry for the hurt and pain he has caused others.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) December 11, 2020
Kim Kardashian West took to Twitter on Thursday night and said, “I’m so messed up right now. They killed Brandon. He was such a reformed person. So hopeful and positive until the end. More importantly, he is sorry, so sorry for the hurt and pain he has caused others.”
The reality TV star also added, “His main message that he learned in his life was to not hang out with the wrong crowd. That was so important to him that he shared that with the youth.”
Bernard was one of the five teenagers charged with the robbery and murder of Todd and Stacie Bagley. His accomplice Christopher Vialva had told the couple to get in the trunk of their car. As he shot them, Bernard had set the vehicle on fire. During the trial, the lawyers stated that Todd had died from the gunshot and Stacie was also dead before the fire. However, the prosecution argued that Stacie was killed by smoke inhalation, not by gunshot.
Vialva was executed by lethal injection in September. Bernard’s lawyers appealed to the government to halt his execution as he had maintained excellent behavior during his time in prison and he showed remorse. The federal judge continuously denied Their appeals.
Even at the 11th hour, Robert Owen, Bernard’s lawyer, attempted to get a stay, but he was denied one again. This caused a delay of two hours in the execution.
Owen stated Bernard’s execution which said, “Brandon made one terrible mistake at age 18. But he did not kill anyone, and he never stopped feeling shame and profound remorse for his actions in the crime that took the lives of Todd and Stacie Bagley.”
“Many things went wrong to put Brandon on death row, including egregious government misconduct in concealing evidence and misleading the jury, which the courts refused to remedy. Before Brandon’s execution, five of the jurors who sentenced him to death said they no longer stood by that verdict,” he said.
Owen ended his statement by saying that Brandon’s execution is a stain on America’s criminal justice system.
Protest against the execution of Brandon Bernard, across Terre Haute Prison on Thursday evening.
After Bernard had been executed, Todd Bagley’s mother Georgia spoke to reporters saying that she wanted to thank Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr, and the Justice Department. She is grateful for the closure they’ve given her and her family. Getting emotional, Georgia spoke about the apologies Bernard and Vialva gave before they were put to death. Crying, the mother of the victim said, “The apology and remorse helped very much heal my heart. I can very much say, I forgive them.”
While footage of Brandon Bernard is available, the Brandon Bernard’s awful execution footage cannot be revealed.
Bernard was the first of the five executions scheduled by the Trump administration before it winds up and Joe Biden takes office. The next inmates in line to be executed are Alfred Bourgeois, Lisa Montgomery, Cory Johnson, and Dustin John Higgs. This action by the government goes against the 130-year-old U.S precedent that halts federal executions when presidential administrations are transitioning. Experts fail to understand this rush in execution by the Trump administrations, especially when the upcoming government opposes the idea of the death penalty.
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