Brandon Bernard was convicted of the 1999 kidnapping and killing of youth ministers Todd and Stacie Bagley on a military reservation in Texas. Bernard is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection December 10, the scheduled execution comes as the Trump administration rushes to execute death row inmates before Joe Biden takes over the presidency.
Among those trying to stop the Dec. 10 execution of Brandon Bernard is the prosecutor who won the guilty verdict against him for the 1999 double murder of youth ministers Todd and Stacie Bagley during a carjacking and robbery, in which Bernard was one of three participants but did not pull the trigger.
Angela Moore, a former US. attorney, now argues that Bernard should be spared, citing recent research on teen brains that suggests Bernard, who she describes as a model reformed prisoner, “lacked an adult’s capacity to control his impulses, consider alternative courses of action or anticipate the consequences of his behavior” at the time of the crime.
Also taking up Bernard’s case is Kim Kardashian West, the reality TV star and justice reform advocate who successfully petitioned President Donald Trump in 2018 to commute the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, who was sentenced for a first-time nonviolent drug offense.
“First, I want to say that a terrible crime was committed and me fighting for a stay of execution does not take away from the sympathy I have for the victim’s [sic] Todd and Stacie Bagley, and their families,” Kardashian West wrote in a series of tweets Sunday. “My heart breaks for everyone involved.”
“While Brandon did participate in this crime, his role was minor compared to that of the other teens involved, two of whom are home from prison now,” she continued.
“In fact, Brandon was not a part of the initial carjacking that took place and was stunned when the robbery turned into a homicide with one of the other teens shooting both Todd and Stacie in the head,” Kardashian West wrote.
“The gunman then turned to Brandon, gun still in hand, and told him to light the car Todd and Stacie lay in on fire to destroy the evidence,” she tweeted. “Brandon believed both were dead, though Stacie was not, and was fearful for his own life, so he made the terrible decision to comply.”
The U.S. Justice Department acted on Oct. 16 to schedule Bernard’s execution, accelerating the resumption of federal death-penalty executions after a 17-year hiatus, reports The New York Times.
Since July, when that hiatus ended, the Trump administration has executed eight people — including, in September, Christopher Andre Vialva, 40, who was convicted alongside of Bernard for the Bagley murders.
First, I want to say that a terrible crime was committed and me fighting for a stay of execution does not take away from the sympathy I have for the victim's Todd and Stacie Bagley, and their families. My heart breaks for everyone involved.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) November 29, 2020
According to the Justice Department, Todd Bagley had stopped to use a payphone in Killeen, Texas, when he agreed to give a ride to Vialva and two others.
Once in the victims’ car, Vialva pulled a gun and ordered the Bagleys into the trunk, then drove for several hours while stopping at ATMs to withdraw money from the couple’s bank account and trying to pawn Stacie Bagley’s wedding ring.
“While locked in the trunk, the couple spoke with their abductors about God and pleaded for their lives,” the Justice Department said in a news release. “Vialva eventually parked at a remote site on the Fort Hood, Texas, military reservation, where an accomplice doused the car with lighter fluid as the couple sang and prayed. Vialva then shot Todd Bagley in the head, killing him instantly, and shot Stacie Bagley in the face, knocking her unconscious and leaving her to die of smoke inhalation after an accomplice set the car on fire.”
(The murders became a federal case because they occurred on land owned by the U.S. military.)
Without intervention, Bernard is scheduled to die by lethal injection at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Praying Brandon Bernard is given more time.