Brandon Bernard becomes the ninth federal prisoner executed in Terre Haute this year

News 10's Sarah Lehman confirms Brandon Bernard has been executed at the federal prison in Terre Haute.

Posted: Dec 10, 2020 12:52 PM
Updated: Dec 10, 2020 10:03 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - News 10's Sarah Lehman confirms Brandon Bernard has been executed at the federal prison in Terre Haute.

Lehman served as a media witness for the execution.

His time of death was listed as 9:27 pm. 

ATTORNEY STATEMENT RE: EXECUTION OF BRANDON BERNARD

“Tonight, those of us who love Brandon Bernard -- and we are many -- are full of righteous anger and deep sadness at the actions of the federal government in taking his life. Brandon’s life mattered. To us, his legal team; to his two beautiful and talented daughters; to his mother, brother, and sister; and to the countless people around the country who came to know him and his story in recent weeks.

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. And he spent the rest of his life sincerely trying to show, as he put it, that he “was not that person.” Brandon showed us that and so much more, carrying himself with grace and generosity, and always treating everyone around him with kindness and respect. He worked to help other troubled kids avoid similar devastating mistakes, and he lived every day his commitment to serving both God and humanity.

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. They joined the lead appellate prosecutor on Brandon’s case in urging President Trump to commute his death sentence to life without parole. Those pleas for clemency were joined by hundreds of thousands of supporters, including celebrities, faith leaders, and members of the United States Congress.

Brandon’s execution is a stain on America’s criminal justice system. But I pray that even in his death, Brandon will advance his commitment to helping others by moving us closer to a time when this country does not pointlessly and maliciously kill young Black men who pose no threat to anyone, when we hold prosecutors to the highest standards of integrity in every case, and when our leaders exercise their moral authority where it is needed.

We were proud to call Brandon our client and our friend, and we will miss him greatly.”

- Robert C. Owen and John Carpenter, attorneys for Brandon Bernard
- December 10, 2020

Brandon Bernard was convicted of kidnapping and killing two youth ministers in Texas. He was 18 when it happened.

His attorneys argue new evidence shows he only played a small part in the crimes.

LINK | Brandon Bernard's' family speaks out days before his execution

The majority of surviving jurors no longer stood by his death sentence. This was the same case involving Christopher Vialva. He was executed last month.

His execution was originally scheduled to happen at 6 pm. The United States Supreme Court decided the execution could continue. 

According to CBS News reporter David Begnaud, Attorney Allen Dershowitz and Ken Starr joined Bernard's legal team. They petitioned the US Supreme Court to stay the execution for 14 days.

LINK | Kim Kardashian West urges stop to execution of death row inmate in Terre Haute who killed 2 when he was 18

Here's what the Department of Justice says Bernard did: 

"Brandon Bernard and his accomplices brutally murdered two youth ministers, Todd and Stacie Bagley, on a military reservation in 1999. After Todd Bagley agreed to give a ride to several of Bernard’s accomplices, they pointed a gun at him, forced him and Stacie into the trunk of their car, and drove the couple around for hours while attempting to steal their money and pawn Stacie’s wedding ring. While locked in the trunk, the couple spoke with their abductors about God and pleaded for their lives.

The abductors eventually parked on the Fort Hood military reservation, where Bernard and another accomplice doused the car with lighter fluid as the couple, still locked in the trunk, sang and prayed. After Stacie said, “Jesus loves you,” and “Jesus, take care of us,” one of the accomplices shot both Todd and Stacie in the head—killing Todd and knocking Stacie unconscious. Bernard then lit the car on fire, killing Stacie through smoke inhalation. In June 2000, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas found Bernard guilty of, among other offenses, two counts of murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, and unanimously recommended a death sentence.

His conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal, and his request for collateral relief was rejected by every court that considered it. Bernard is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on December 10, 2020, at U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute, Indiana. One of his accomplices, Christopher Vialva, was executed for his role in the Bagleys’ murder on September 22, 2020."

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