Brandon Bernard, who was put on death row for his involvement in a burglary turned murder in 1999, was executed on Thursday, December 10, after Kim Kardashian made an appeal to President Donald Trump to allow Bernard to stay his sentence in prison.
The Supreme Court denied the last minute appeal from his legal team, and Bernard was given a lethal injection of phenobarbital at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.
Bernard used his final words to apologize to the families of Todd and Stacie Bagley — who died in the incident. "I’m sorry," he said. "That’s the only words that I can say that completely capture how I feel now and how I felt that day."
🕊🕊🕊— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) December 11, 2020
I’m so messed up right now.
They killed Brandon.
He was such a reformed person. So hopeful and positive until the end. More importantly he is sorry, so sorry for the hurt and pain he has caused others.
Georgia Bagley, who is Todd’s mother, said that the apology "helped very much to heal my heart" and forgave Bernard. "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," she said.
Five of the nine jury members regretted their verdict in the case, and even federal prosecutor Angela Moore had a change of heart and wrote in an op-ed that there's more understanding now on how an 18 year old's brain is not fully developed.
NEW: a divided SCOTUS denies execution stay for Brandon Bernard.— Jordan Rubin (@Jordan_S_Rubin) December 11, 2020
He’ll be the ninth federal inmate executed this year and the second of the lame-duck period.
The next federal execution, Alfred Bourgeois, is scheduled for tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/MmXAnyBONQ
Kardashian was distraught with the news and wrote that she was "so messed up right now."
"As he was in the chair his attorney called me and they just had their last call and said this ... Brandon said he loves you and wants to say thank you again," she stated.
Kardashian shared that Bernard’s "main message that he learned in his life was to not hang out with the wrong crowd. That was so important to him that he shared that with the youth. It got him caught up and he made poor choices."
In November, Kardashian shed light on the case again and said that Bernard’s role was minor, and he was "stunned when the robbery turned into a homicide with one of the other teens shooting both Todd and Stacie in the head."
"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 said. "Brandon believed both were dead, though Stacie was not, and was fearful for his own life, so he made the terrible decision to comply."
Bernard was a member of the 212 Piru Bloods gang, and gunman Christopher Vialva was executed by lethal injection earlier this year.
Bernard's lawyers dubbed the execution a "stain on America's criminal justice system."
"Brandon made one terrible mistake at age 18. But he did not kill anyone, and he never stopped feeling shame and profound remorse for his actions in the crime," attorney Robert C. Owen said.
Yes. We must abolish the death penalty— period.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 11, 2020
Both Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted later that the death penalty should be abolished, and model Bella Hadid said she "can't stop crying. This is so f**ked up," while Senator Ted Cruz hit back at the Democrats for "siding with this vicious murder."
Bernard was the ninth federal inmate to face the death sentence since July after Trump ended a 17-year hiatus on federal executions. Trump could have granted Bernard clemency after the Supreme Court ruling, but he did not take action and has not publicly acknowledged the execution.