Georgia Bagley, mother of the late Todd Bagley, has accepted the apology from her son’s killer.
Brandon Bernard was one of five gang members convicted for the murder of Bagley and his wife Stacie in 1999. Bernard was only 18 at the time and was found guilty of two counts of murder a year later. He was put on death row soon after his trial.
The gunman, Christopher Vialva, was executed in September, while Bernard remained on death row. Bernard was executed yesterday evening, December 10, after President Trump ordered a string of executions to take place before Joe Biden’s inauguration next year, breaking a 130-year precedent in which executions are paused during a presidential transition.
Bernard was one of the five executions ordered by the current POTUS, despite his legal team’s efforts to have the 40-year-old granted clemency.
He was the youngest person in nearly 70 years in the United States to receive a death sentence for a crime committed when he was an adolescent.
Prior to his death, Bernard addressed his victims’ family members who were present at his execution. He apologised to both Todd and Stacie’s family, saying ‘I’m sorry’, and ‘that’s the only words that I can say that completely capture how I feel now and how I felt that day’, The Guardian reports.
Following his apology, Georgia Bagley stated it ‘helped very much to heal [her] heart’, that she accepted Bernard’s apology, and said ‘I can very much say: I forgive them,’ The Washington Post reports.
She added, ‘It has been very difficult to wait 21 years for the sentence that was imposed by the judge and jury on those who cruelly participated in the destruction of our children to be finally completed.’
Several petitions were made and sent to Trump to stop the execution going ahead, including an appeal from Kim Kardashian, who has recently been working with lawyers to campaign for those on death row.
Trump’s decision to go break tradition and push ahead with a number of executions before he leaves office has been met with criticism. Usually, such executions would be paused while the transition of power takes place. However, if Trump’s orders go ahead, he will have overseen the execution of 13 death row inmates since July, making him the most prolific execution president in America in more than 100 years.
Another execution, that of Alfred Bourgeois, who was convicted of killing his two-year-old daughter in 2004, is planned to go ahead this week. Attorneys are arguing Bourgeois has an ‘intellectual disability’ and are asking the Supreme Court to stay the execution.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
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