A federal death sentence has been carried out in the United States on a death row inmate, the first of five executions to be carried out before the end of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West is among those people who have called for a pardon for Brandon Bernard.
Bernard, aged 40, was convicted of murder when he was swallowing at the age of 18 and he is the youngest criminal to be executed by the federal government in nearly seventy years.
If the five executions are carried out, Trump will be the US president who has overseen the largest number of executions in more than a century.
This brings the total number of federal executions to 13 since last July.
The Brandon Bernard Affair
Bernard was executed Thursday evening (USA time) in a prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Bernard had been sentenced to death in connection with the murders of Todd and Stacy Bagley in June 1999.
Bernard was one of five teenagers accused of stealing the couple and throwing them into the trunk of their car in Texas.
The couple was shot dead while in the car by 19-year-old crime-partner Christopher Vialva before Bernard set the car on fire.
Defense lawyers say the Bagley spouses likely died before the car was set on fire.
An independent investigator employed by the defense team said that Stacy was “medically dead” before the car was burned.
However, government testimony during the trial claimed that although Todd Bagley died instantly, Stacey had a respiratory tract infection, indicating that she died from smoke inhalation and not from the gunshot wound.
Bernard’s lawyers claim he was afraid of what would happen to him if he refused to obey the orders of Vialva, who was executed last September.
The other persons involved in the accident were sentenced to prison terms because they were under the age of 18 and were classified as minors.
Bernard’s attorneys believe that he should have been sentenced to life in prison without parole since throughout his time in prison, he kept a good record and worked with awareness programs to prevent people from involvement in the crime.
Who defended it?
The federal prosecutor who defended Bernard’s death sentence has called for Bernard to serve his sentence in prison.
Angela Moore wrote in an opinion piece published in the “Indianapolis Star” newspaper, saying: “After I learned a lot since 2000 about the maturation of the human mind, and after I saw Brandon transform into a humble and remorseful adult person fully capable of living in peace in prison, so how about To say that he is among the small class of criminals who should be executed? ”
Five of the nine surviving jurors called on President Trump to commute Bernard’s death sentence.
Tens of thousands of other people urged President Trump to grant Bernard amnesty, including Senators Richard Durban and Cory Brooker.
Prominent attorneys Allen Dershowitz and Ken Starr joined Bernard’s defense team.
Kim Kardashian West sent many tweets about Bernard’s case to her Twitter followers, urging them to stand behind the cause and raise awareness of it.
Terrible news from the 7th circuit:
IT IS ORDERED that the Emergency Motion for Stay of Execution Pending Appeal is
This is why judges matter. #SaveBrandonBernard
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) December 10, 2020
The reality TV star is studying law to become a California attorney and has previously helped influence criminal cases.
And last March, Kim visited the White House with three women whose prison sentences had been reduced by President Trump.