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Kim Kardashian pleads with Trump to stop Brandon Bernard’s execution

Kim Kardashian is calling on President Trump to put a stop to tomorrow’s scheduled execution of a federal prisoner who was convicted over the murder of two married youth ministers when he was a teenager. 

The reality TV star is pleading with Trump to commute 40-year-old Brandon Bernard’s death sentence and allow him to spend the rest of his life in prison instead.

Bernard is scheduled to be executed tomorrow at the US Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana where he is currently being held. 

A federal judge yesterday denied a request from his lawyers to halt the execution.

‘Brandon Bernard, a 40-year-old father is going to be executed tomorrow by our federal government,’ Kardashian tweeted. 

‘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.’

Kim Kardashian has pleaded with President Trump to commute 40-year-old Brandon Bernard's death sentence and allow him to spend the rest of his life in prison instead. She is pictured above with Trump in June last year

Kim Kardashian has pleaded with President Trump to commute 40-year-old Brandon Bernard’s death sentence and allow him to spend the rest of his life in prison instead. She is pictured above with Trump in June last year

Bernard and accomplice Christopher Vialva were sentenced to death in 2000 after a jury found them guilty of carjacking and murdering Todd and Stacie Bagley, married Christian youth ministers from Iowa, on the Fort Hood army base in Texas the previous year. 

They were among the five members of the local 212 Piru Bloods gang that participated in the killing after the Bagleys attended a church service.  

Vialva was executed by lethal injection in September and became the first black man to face the punishment since the Trump administration resumed carrying out federal executions after a 17-year hiatus. 

Bernard, now 40, is scheduled to be executed tomorrow at the US Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana where he is currently being held

Bernard, now 40, is scheduled to be executed tomorrow at the US Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana where he is currently being held

Bernard, who was 18 years old at the time, is one of five executions scheduled to take place before Trump leaves office in January. 

Kardashian first drew attention to Bernard’s case last month after his lawyers appealed to Trump for clemency, citing regrets by five jurors from his trial who now say he should instead serve life in prison. 

Five of the nine surviving jurors submitted sworn affidavits or statements that were included in Bernard’s clemency petition in which they said that Bernard’s lawyers did a poor job defending him.

Bernard’s lawyers say information showing that Bernard held a lowly position in the gang that killed the Bagleys was not presented to the jury.

His lawyers also argued that he was not present when the Bagleys were abducted by Vialva and forced into the trunk of their car. 

Later, after Vialva shot the couple in the trunk, Bernard followed Vialva’s orders to set the car on fire, according to trial records. 

While all five jurors still agree that both Bernard and Vialva were guilty, they said that Bernard did not seem to have intended to kill the Bagleys. 

Todd and Stacie Bagley

Todd and Stacie Bagley

Bernard and accomplice Christopher Vialva were sentenced to death in 2000 after a jury found them guilty of carjacking and murdering Todd and Stacie Bagley (above), married Christian youth ministers from Iowa, on the Fort Hood army base in Texas the previous year

Bernard's lawyers say information showing that Bernard held a lowly position in the gang that killed the Bagleys was not presented to the jury. Pictured above is Bernard holding a photo of himself with family in an undated photo from prison

Bernard’s lawyers say information showing that Bernard held a lowly position in the gang that killed the Bagleys was not presented to the jury. Pictured above is Bernard holding a photo of himself with family in an undated photo from prison

In a series of tweets last month, Kardashian condemned Bernard’s crimes but said she didn’t think he deserved to die because of something he did when he was 18.  

‘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,’ Kardashian wrote in a thread.  

‘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.

Bernard's co-defendant Christopher Vialva (pictured) was executed in September. He became the first black man to face the punishment since the Trump administration resumed carrying out federal executions after a 17-year hiatus

Bernard’s co-defendant Christopher Vialva (pictured) was executed in September. He became the first black man to face the punishment since the Trump administration resumed carrying out federal executions after a 17-year hiatus

‘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. Brandon believed both were dead, though Stacie was not, and was fearful for his own life, so he made the terrible decision to comply.

‘At trial Brandon’s attorney fell short by not hiring any experts who could have explained to the jury why Brandon decided to leave the video game store that night or how he had grown up in an abusive home, or how his homeless father had left him searching for protection in the streets.

‘His trial attorney also failed to tell the jury how remorseful he was or anything about his background. We now know this testimony would have spared his life.

‘In fact, two jurors who have since stated that had they learned about Brandon’s background or how at just a few months past 18 his brain was still developing, they would NOT have voted for the death penalty.

‘Recently the prosecutor herself- the person who helped put Brandon on death row- has also come forward and asked that his life be spared since he was the least culpable of the five teens involved.

Kardashian explained Bernard's case in a Twitter thread on Sunday

Kardashian explained Bernard’s case in a Twitter thread on Sunday

Kardashian's Twitter thread about Bernard is shown in full above

Kardashian’s Twitter thread about Bernard is shown in full above

‘Although all five teens were black, 11 of the 12 jurors were white. This, coupled with the misleading and incomplete information the jury was given, deprived the boys of a fair trial. Instead of being executed, Brandon could live out his sentence in prison.

‘He has now been on death row for 20+ years with zero disciplinary write ups. He uses his time to reach out to at-risk youth, advising them to not stray from the Lord’s path (or not follow in his teenage footsteps).’

According to court records, those involved were looking for someone to rob when they found Todd Bagley using a payphone at a store and he agreed to give them a ride in his car. 

The Bagleys were on their way home from a Sunday church service while visiting Texas from Iowa 

In the back seat, Vialva pulled out a gun and ordered Bagley and his wife to get into the car’s trunk.   

The teens then stole the Bagley’s money, jewelry and ATM card before locking them in the trunk of the car as they drove around for hours trying to withdraw money from ATMs and seeking to pawn Stacie Bagley’s wedding ring.

The Bagleys pleaded for their lives from the trunk.

The teens eventually pulled to the side of the road and poured lighter fluid inside the car. As they did, the Bagleys sang ‘Jesus loves us’ in the trunk.

Vialva, the oldest of the group, donned a ski mask, opened the trunk and shot the Bagleys in the head.

Prosecutors said at the trial that Stacie was still alive as flames engulfed the car.

During the trial, two of the teen co-defendants described Vialva and Bernard as the ringleaders of the grisly crime.

While Vialva and Bernard both received death sentences, the other defendants received lighter sentences.

Bernard’s lawyers have since insisted that he was not in control of the situation and that he wasn’t aware of Vialva’s plans to commit murder. 


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