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Brandon Bernard's Execution Divides the Country

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Posted: Dec 11, 2020 12:30 PM
Brandon Bernard's Execution Divides the Country

Source: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

On Thursday, after the Supreme Court denied a petition to delay, Brandon Bernard was executed for his role in a 1999 double murder-robbery when he was 18 years old. Bernard was one of four teenagers who abducted and killed Todd and Stacie Bagley, two youth ministers visiting Texas from Iowa, in 1999. The four young men threw the Bagleys into the trunk of a car and shot them before Bernard set the car on fire. According to some reports, Stacie Bagley may have still been alive after the gunshot and was killed by the inferno. The "ringleader" of the murders who shot the Bagleys, Christopher Vialva, who was 19 at the time, was executed in September.

In a 2016 video statement, Bernard apologized to the victims' families and said, "I wish that we could all go back and change it."

Bernard's execution was the ninth conducted by the federal government in 2020 and is one of five planned before President Trump leaves office. It has divided Americans. Some believed it was justified, while others criticized what they called a cruel justice system.

Leading Democrats are convinced that Bernard should still be alive.

But others rejected that way of thinking and said that Bernard, along with the handful of criminals still on death row, deserve what's coming to them.

A mother of one of Bernard's victims, Georgia A. Bagley, agrees. She thanked the Trump administration for the act of justice, no matter how delayed.

The mother of one of the victims, Georgia A. Bagley, in a statement with family and friends, thanked Mr. Trump and the Justice Department. She called the crime “a senseless act of unnecessary evil.”

“It has been very difficult to wait 21 years for the sentence that was imposed by the judge and jury on those who cruelly participated in the destruction of our children, to be finally completed,” Ms. Bagley said in the statement. (New York Times)