Justice Division Executes Man for Homicide Dedicated When He Was 18


The purported ringleader of the crime, Mr. Vialva, then 19, insisted that the younger males wanted to kill the Bagleys. After Mr. Bernard and one other confederate purchased lighter fluid, 4 of the younger males, driving in two automobiles, took the victims to a distant spot on the Fort Hood army reservation.

Mr. Bernard and Terry Brown, then 17, poured lighter fluid on the automobile’s inside, and Mr. Vialva shot the victims with Mr. Bernard’s gun, killing Mr. Bagley and leaving Ms. Bagley unconscious, the Justice Division mentioned. Mr. Bernard set flame to the automobile.

Although the federal government executed Mr. Bernard and Mr. Vialva, Mr. Brown and one other man concerned within the crimes have been launched from federal jail, and one other confederate is projected for launch in 2030, in line with a Bureau of Prisons database. Every of these three, ages 15 to 17 on the time of the crime, had been ineligible for capital punishment below the Federal Dying Penalty Act.

The Supreme Court docket later dominated that capital punishment was unconstitutional for these below 18 on the time of their offense. Mr. Bernard’s supporters argued that the court docket failed to contemplate his youthfulness. Critics of the dying penalty have mentioned setting 18 because the age at which a defendant will be sentenced to dying is bigoted.

In an announcement, two legal professionals for Mr. Bernard maintained that their shopper didn’t kill anybody, and a number of other jurors mentioned they now not stood the preliminary verdict, together with an appellate prosecutor in his case who joined the decision for his clemency.

“Brandon’s life mattered,” they mentioned, describing his execution as “a stain on America’s legal justice system.”

Regardless of claims from his protection that the federal government suppressed proof that will have altered the calculus of Mr. Bernard’s sentence, courts rejected his pleas for a keep of execution. His legal professionals criticized the federal government’s case and pointed to testimony that recommended Mr. Bernard held the bottom stage of authority within the gang with which the federal government claimed he and different accomplices had been affiliated.



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