DEATH row inmate Brandon Bernard was convicted of murdering Todd and Stacie Bagley with a group of teen boys before torching their bodies inside a car trunk more than two decades ago in Texas
Kim Kardashian West’s decision to back the campaign to stop Bernard’s execution sparked criticism with Stacie’s family, who believe that his death sentence is justified.
Who is Brandon Bernard?
Texas man Brandon Bernard, 40, is an inmate scheduled for the death penalty at Terre Haute, Indiana.
He was involved in the killing of two youth ministers in 1999.
Campaigners say that, at the time of his conviction, both prosecutors and jurors had an incomplete picture of Bernard and his background.
Why is he in jail?
Bernard was convicted with four others for the killing of Todd and Stacie Bagley in Killen, Texas, in 1999.
He was only 18 at the time and did not have a leading role in it, attorneys say.
The group, all teenagers, held the Bagleys at gunpoint and robbed them before shooting them.
They then placed their bodies in the trunk of their car and torched it.
Bernard collected the lighter fluid to use on the couple’s bodies.
A federal jury found the 40-year-old black man guilty of two counts of murder in 2000, and he was placed on death row soon after.
Bernard was executed for the youth ministers’ murder on December 10 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Dana Ladd, Stacie Bagley’s stepsister, told TMZ that Bernard’s execution was deserved, despite Kardashian’s pleas for the prisoner’s sentence to be commuted.
“I want her to think about if it was one of her children that Bernard did that to — would she feel differently? It’s easy for people to say things when they don’t have similar experiences,” Ladd said.
Who are victims Todd and Stacie Bagley?
Todd Bagley and Stacie Bagley were Christian youth ministers from Iowa.
Before moving to Iowa, Todd had been stationed at Fort Hood, where the couple attended Grace Christian Church and worked with the youth group in Texas.
A week before their murder, the Bagleys visited Killen, Texas to visit their friends and attend a church revival meeting.
On June 21, 1999, the couple attended a service before having lunch with friends.
The pair stopped at a convenience store to use a payphone before they were approached by gang members Christopher Andre Vialva, Christopher Lewis and Tony Sparks.
The teens threatened the couple with a gun, robbed them, and then forced them into the trunk of their car where they were driven around for six hours.
The Bagleys allegedly spoke with Lewis and Sparks through the rear panel of the car while they were in the trunk.
Lewis testified that the Bagleys asked them questions about God, Jesus and church.
Christopher Vialva was executed for killing the Bagley’s this year after US attorney general William Barr announced the resumption of federal executions in 2019.
Vialva declared that the pair had to die because they had seen his face.
According to Bernard, Stacie’s last words were “Jesus loves you” and “Jesus, take care of us.”
On September 24, 2020, he was executed by lethal injection.
What did Kim Kardashian say about Bernard’s sentence?
Kim Kardashian, who has secured the release of almost two dozen prisoners, asked her 67.7million followers to back the campaign to stop Bernard’s execution.
Kim called for Bernard to serve a life sentence rather than be put to death because of his minor role in the crime.
She said: “A terrible case has been brought to my attention and I need your help.
“First, I want to say that a terrible crime was committed and me fighting for a stay of execution does not take away from the sympathy I have for the victim’s Todd and Stacie Bagley, and their families.
“My heart breaks for everyone involved.
“While Brandon did participate in this crime, his role was minor compared to that of the other teens involved, two of whom are home from prison now.”
Kardashian said that, after shooting the Bagleys, the gunman turned to Bernard and told him to light the car and help destroy the evidence.
“Brandon believed both were dead, though Stacie was not, and was fearful for his own life, so he made the terrible decision to comply.”
View more information: https://www.the-sun.com/news/1935693/brandon-bernard-todd-stacie-bagley-texas/