crime and punishment

Brandon Bernard: I wish I could take it all back

The federal government of the United States executed Brandon Bernard at the Federal Correctional Center in Terre Haute, Indiana, USA as scheduled on December 10, 2020. He was pronounced dead at 9:27 p.m.

A day before Bernard’s execution, Kim Kardashian West took to Twitter to ask Donald Trump to commute Bernard’s sentence to life in prison. Lawyers Allen Dershowitz and Ken Starr also joined Bernard’s defense team.

 

On June 21, 1999, Bernard participated in the killing of Todd Bagley and Stacie Bagleyon Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, USA by gang members led by Christopher Andre Vialva. On September 24, 2020, Vialva was executed by lethal injection at the Federal Correctional Center in Terre Haute.

“I’m sorry,” CNN quoted Bernard as saying before his execution. “I wish I could take it all back but I can’t. That’s the only words that I can say that completely capture how I feel now and how I felt that day.”

Bernard was born in 1980 in San Antonio, Texas at the same hospital where his mother Thelma Bernard worked as an Army nurse. Brandon is the big brother of Quiona Bernard, 32, and Max Bernard, 29.

On June 13, 2000, a jury of 11 white people and one African-American person in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas found Vialva and Bernard guilty of carjacking, first-degree murder on a government reservation, aiding and abetting and conspiracy to commit murder. The jury unanimously voted for the two to receive the death penalty.

On October 16, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that he was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on December 10, 2020 at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute. Weeks before his execution, his daughter Kiara Bernard, his mother, his two siblings and his aunt Rahsha Williams visited him in Terre Haute.

“I went there ready to encourage him and be uplifting to him and it was just the opposite,” Williams told WTHI-TV 10. “He uplifted us and he’s at peace and he has accepted what has happened but he is hopeful.”

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