"Brandon Bernard, a 40-year-old father, is going to be executed tomorrow by our federal government," Kardashian tweeted on Wednesday, December 9. "Having gotten to know Brandon, I am heartbroken about this execution. I’m calling on @realDonaldTrump to grant Brandon a commutation and allow him to live out his sentence in prison."
Bernard was convicted in 1999 for his role in a robbery that led to the deaths of Todd and Stacie Bagley in the Forth Hood military base in Kileen, Texas. Bernard was 18 years old at the time.
Bernard is currently at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., as he awaits execution. On Tuesday, December 8, Judge James Sweeney denied Bernard’s team’s request to stay his execution, Page Six reported.
Bernard’s lawyers argued that the prosecution in his case withheld an expert witness at the time, who could have proven that his role in the gang was too low down to have been a key figure in the robbery. However, the judge ruled that the testimony was not strong enough.
This is not the first time Kardashian has shone some light on the case. In November, she wrote: "While Brandon did participate in this crime, his role was minor compared to that of the other teens involved … In fact, Brandon was not a part of the initial carjacking that took place and 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 added. "Brandon believed both were dead, though Stacie was not, and was fearful for his own life, so he made the terrible decision to comply."
Kardashian and Bernard’s legal team are not the only ones trying to overturn his death sentence. Five of the nine jurors in the case regret their decision, and four asked for the sentence to be commuted to life in prison instead. Even federal prosecutor Angela Moore, who previously defended Bernard’s death sentence, had a change of heart and wrote an op-ed on her new stance.
#BrandonBernard should not be executed:— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) December 10, 2020
1. He was 18 at the time.
2. He was not the shooter.
3. The prosecutor and 5 of the jurors now support clemency.
4. He’s spent decades in prison w/out a write up, helping at risk youth.
5. There’s bipartisan support for his commutation. pic.twitter.com/18GugdtuOs
Moore explained that now that there are more studies on youth and male's brain's are not fully developed until 25 or 26 years of age. "Brandon, even though legally an adult at age 18, lacked an adult’s capacity to control his impulses, consider alternative courses of action or anticipate the consequences of his behavior," she said. "Black teens like Brandon are systematically denied the 'benefit' of their youth, which is outweighed by their race in the eyes of police, prosecutors, judges and jurors."
Bernard was one of five members of the 212 Piru Bloods gang, and fellow member Christopher Vialva, who shot both of the victims in the head, was executed by lethal injection earlier this year.
Kardashian previously lobbied for Julius Jones and successfully lobbied Trump to grant clemency to Alice Marie Johnson, who was serving a life sentence without parole for drug offenses.
"Everyone called me and said, 'Don’t you dare step foot in that White House or your reputation is done,’" Kardashian recalled on David Letterman. "And I said, 'I have to step foot in there or these people’s lives don’t have a chance.'"