Brandon Bernard was executed by the federal government on Thursday at the Federal Correctional Center in Terre Haute, Indiana, according to a pool report.
Bernard, 40, was one of five gang members convicted in Texas of killing Stacie and Todd Bagley — who were youth ministers — in 1999. The gunman, Christopher Vialva, was executed in September, while the other co-defendants were given lesser sentences. Bernard was pronounced dead at 9:27 p.m. He was the youngest person in the United States to receive a death sentence in nearly 70 years for a crime committed when he was an adolescent.
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Bernard said he had been waiting for his chance to apologize to the family of the Bagleys 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.”
The Bagley family thanked Trump and the federal government for carrying out the sentence in their statements.
Bernard’s case has been in the spotlight for months, grabbing headlines and the attention of both politicians and celebrities who wanted the execution to be stopped.
Kim Kardashian West called for Trump to grant a commutation for Bernard; Rep. Ayana Pressley, Democrat of Massachusetts, brought awareness to legislation she introduced last year to end the death penalty at the federal level; the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson called on the President to commute the sentences of and pardon all the inmates scheduled for execution, and 23 elected and former prosecutors filed an amicus brief on Wednesday in support of Bernard’s appeal due to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.
“After a lower court judge denied Bernard’s motion to stay the execution on Wednesday, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied an emergency motion and the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit also denied the appeal on Thursday, according to court documents.
“Attorneys Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr joined Bernard’s legal team late on Thursday and had filed a petition with the Supreme Court requesting to delay the execution for two weeks so they could get up to speed on Bernard’s case. The attorneys’ most recent and notable client was President Donald Trump during his impeachment hearings earlier this year.
“The Supreme Court denied the petition, with three justices issuing public dissents.