'I'm sorry': Brandon Bernard used last words before execution to apologize to victims' families

Bernard reportedly addressed the families of his victims, Todd and Stacie Bagley, through the glass window during his final moments


                            'I'm sorry': Brandon Bernard used last words before execution to apologize to victims' families
Brandon Bernard (USP Terre Haute)

Brandon Bernard, who was convicted of murdering two Christian youth ministers in Texas more than two decades ago, was executed on December 10, after Kim Kardashian failed to secure a pardon for him from President Donald Trump. Bernard's execution was the ninth carried out by the federal government in 2020 and the first during the presidential period between an election and an inauguration in more than a century. Bernard, who was just 18 years old at the time of the crime, and four others were sentenced to death for the 1999 killing.

Time of his execution and last words

The 40-year-old prisoner was set to be executed at 5 p.m. CT in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was finally put to death by lethal injection on December 10 and was pronounced dead at 9:27 p.m. CT. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Indiana codes state that the execution of a death row inmate must take place before sunrise on the execution day.

In his last words before death, Bernard reportedly addressed the families of his victims, Todd and Stacie Bagley, through the glass window, saying: "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."

What was Bernard's crime? 

The Bagleys were shot by Christopher Vialva in 1999 at Fort Hood in Texas, while Bernard, who was 18 at the time, set the couple's car on fire with them inside it. According to the autopsy reports, Todd died of a gunshot wound while Stacie died of smoke inhalation. Court records revealed that the Bagleys had prayed for their attackers and had begged for mercy. Vialva was executed by lethal injection on September 24 this year.

Bernard's attorneys have argued that during their client's trial a key piece of evidence was withheld: A witness who stated that Bernard had a low rank in the gang that robbed and murdered Todd and Stacie Bagley. Bernard was one of 212 Piru Bloods gang members who attacked the Bradleys. Two of the teens reportedly approached Todd, a veteran, and asked him if he could give them a ride to their uncle's home. Vialva and another man pulled guns on the couple inside their car, stole their wallets and jewelry, and forced the pair into the trunk of the vehicle. Vialva then decided that the pair needed to be killed. He then met up with Bernard and another teen and the former poured lighter fluid over the vehicle and lit it on fire, court documents state.

A federal jury found Bernard guilty in 2000 of two counts of murder.

Kim Kardashian heartbroken over Bernard's death

Bernard's case achieved national attention after Kardashian pleaded for him to be removed from death row. Earlier on the day of the execution, the reality star tweeted a desperate plea to Trump, asking the president to intervene and save the black man's life. A petition to stop Brandon Bernard from receiving the death penalty also circulated on social media.

"This just has to change. Our system is so f**ked up. I’m so messed up right now. They killed Brandon," she tweeted after his death. "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 revealed that she had "been crying all morning" about his death sentence. "Brandon Bernard will be executed in 5 hours and all I can think about is his family and children and how they will feel when their loved one is gone," she said, adding in another tweet, "Just spoke to Brandon for what will likely be the last time. Hardest call I’ve ever had. Brandon, selfless as always, was focused on his family and making sure they are ok. He told me not to cry because our fight isn’t over." 



 



 



 

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