By: Angel Liang — Correspondent
Brandon Bernard was one of two inmates federally executed on December 10. Lisa Montgomery, the second inmate, was convicted of fatally strangling a pregnant woman named Bobbie Jo Stinnett and kidnapping her baby, according to the Department of Justice. “Brandon Bernard and his accomplices brutally murdered two youth ministers, Todd and Stacie Bagley, on a military reservation in 1999.”
Bernard was an accomplice in the murder of the two youths in 1999. One of his co-conspirators, Vialva, was executed in September. Vialva shot Todd and Stacie in the trunk of their car, and afterward, Bernard set fire to the car. While prosecutors were told Stacie died due to smoke inhalation from the fire, later autopsies revealed that she was already dead before Brandon’s actions.
Because of this new information, five of the nine jurors sentencing Bernard to death publicly came forward to regret their decision. The prosecutor of this case, Angela Moore also came forward to ask for a halt in his execution. Moore, according to CBS News, changed her view due to “the legal reasons, aside from my own personal beliefs, it’s the evidence and what we have found out since. Mr. Bernard did not shoot and kill the victims in this case.”
Bernard was executed by lethal injection on December 10th, 2020. His last words were directed toward the Bagley family. “I’m sorry,” he said. “That’s the only words that I can say that completely capture how I feel now and how I felt that day.” CBS reported that “the reporter present said Bernard did not appear to be afraid or distressed in the moments leading up to his death. His eyes closed soon after the injections began, and his breathing became shallow. He did not twitch or heave, as others executed in the chamber have done, the reporter said.”
Afterward, Todd and Stacie Bagley’s mother told reporters “The apology and remorse … helped very much heal my heart. I can very much say: I forgive them.” She also thanked President Trump and Attorney General Barr for “bringing the family closure,” according to CBS. Brandon’s family also spoke on this, saying that “If he must pay with his life, he hopes it relieves some of Bagley’s pain. He is at peace. He does not want the executioners to carry any guilt.”
Brandon Bernard is now the youngest offender to be executed in almost 70 years for a crime he committed as a teenager. The Trump administration, if the next 5 executions are to take place, would have overseen 13 executions, the most in any presidency.
image from nydailynews.com