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Brandon Bernard executed after 20 years on death row

Brandon Bernard

Brandon was convicted in 2000 as an accomplice to a double murder at the age of 18

Brandon Bernard

Washington: Under Attorney General William Barr, the death penalty at a federal level was reinstated. Brandon Bernard, a convicted felon was the latest to be executed for a crime, however many people have found it controversial since the jurors on his case don’t feel he deserves the death penalty 

Since the death penalty was restarted after a 17 year hiatus, Brandon has become to ninth person under Barr to be executed. Brandon’s accomplice and chief suspect Christopher Vialva was executed earlier in September. 

The duo was charged with murdering Todd and Stacie Bagely, two Christian Missionaries from Iowa. Investigations have proved that Viavla was the one to fire the bullet. The couple was in the car when Viavla approached them and fired at close range. Bernard then was the one to set the car on fire, ensuring the dead bodies were burnt. 

According to Bernards”s attorneys,  cruicial information was withheld from the prosecution which showed that Brandon was indeed a low-level youth member of a much larger gang, meaning he was a minimal risk to re-offend. 

Bernard with his family

His fight was bought to the limelight by Kim Kardashian who has been fighting for him on Twitter,  appealing to the Justice Department all the way up to the president’s office. Kardashian had previously helped sought clemency for multiple one-time offenders carrying long term sentences.

 Throughout the entire process Brandon simply said, “I’m sorry, it’s the way I felt back then when it happened in front of my eyes and right now at this pint in life”. Prison authorities have also vouched for Brandon, saying he was an ideal prisoner and often reached out to others to ensure they didn’t go down his path.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday evening denied a stay of execution for Bernard, with its three liberal justices dissenting.

“Today, the court allows the federal government to execute Brandon Bernard, despite Bernard’s troubling allegations that the government secured his death sentence by withholding exculpatory evidence and knowingly eliciting false testimony against him,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor in her dissent.

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