Government Executes Brandon Bernard After Supreme Court Denies Stay

Brandon Bernard, 40, was executed by the federal government on Thursday evening at the Federal Correctional Center in Terre Haute, Indiana, the Bureau of Prisons said.

Bernard, who was convicted for his involvement in the brutal murder of two youth ministers, Stacie and Todd Bagley in 1999, was executed Thursday evening after appeals from criminal justice advocates and celebrities, including Kim Kardashian West, delay his execution.

The Supreme Court denied a request for an emergency stay Thursday night, and he was pronounced dead at 9:27 p.m.

The case sparked debate about whether the death penalty is a necessary punishment for a person who was barely of a legal adult at the time of the crime was committed. Bernard, who was 18 at the time of the crime and the youngest person at 40, in seven decades to be put to death by the federal government.

Image: Brandon Bernard
Brandon Bernard, 40, was sentenced to death as an accomplice in a 1999 murder of a Texas couple

Bernard had said that he had been waiting for his chance to apologize to the Bagleys family and his own family for the pain he caused.

“I’m sorry … I wish I could take it all back, but I can’t,” Bernard said to the family of the Bagleys during his three-minute last words. “That’s the only words that I can say that completely capture how I feel now and how I felt that day.”

Georgia Bagley, told reporters that the apologies of Bernard and Christopher Vialva, who was put to death in September, “helped very much to heal my heart.” And that she forgave them she said.

Charles Woodard wrote on behalf of the Bagley family:”I pray that Brandon has accepted Christ as his Savior, because if he has, Todd and Stacie will welcome him into Heaven with love and forgiveness” .

Bernard was the ninth person executed by President Donald Trump’s administration this year and Alfred Bourgeois will the 10th.

This year, fear over the spread of the coronavirus in prisons has largely led states to put holds on executions. But the surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths in recent months have not deterred the government from acting in the final weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency before the transition.