Kim Kardashian asked Donald Trump to end the scheduled execution of Brandon Bernard, who has become the latest focus of her prison reform advocacy work.
“Brandon Bernard, a 40-year-old father, is going to be executed tomorrow by our federal government,” Kardashian, 40, tweeted on Wednesday. “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.”
Bernard is awaiting execution at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. If Trump doesn’t respond to the reality star’s pleas, Bernard will be the ninth federal prisoner executed under the Trump administration after they ended a 17-year hiatus on federal executions this year.
Bernard was convicted at just 18-years-old for his alleged involvement in a robbery that led to the deaths of Todd and Stacie Bagley on the Fort Hood military base in Killeen, Texas in 1999.
Bernard’s attorneys argued that the prosecution withheld an expert witness who could prove that Bernard didn’t rank high enough in his gang to be the brain behind the crime, and requested for him to stay his execution.
But Judge James Sweeney of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Indiana believes the testimony wasn’t strong enough to overturn the death sentence conviction and denied the request.
Kardashian has previously posted about Bernard’s case, writing on November 29 that “While Brandon did participate in this crime, his role was minor compared to that of the other teens involved … 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,” Kardashian continued. “Brandon believed both were dead, though Stacie was not, and was fearful for his own life, so he made the terrible decision to comply.”
The gunman, Christopher Vialva, was executed by lethal injection earlier this year.
Kim Kardashian isn’t the only one advocating for Bernard. More than half of the jurors said they regretted their original verdict and called for life in prison instead of the death penalty.
If you think that’s outstanding, Federal prosecutor Angela Moore, who defended Bernard’s death sentence verdict on appeal, published an op-ed on Nov. 20 lobbying for Bernard’s sentence to be commuted.
Over 80,000 people signed the petition fighting for Bernard’s life.