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Federal government executes Brandon Bernard despite last-minute appeals

Federal government executes Brandon Bernard despite last-minute appeals
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The U.S. government executed Brandon Bernard by lethal injection Thursday, despite nationwide outcry and last-minute appeals to have his execution halted.

Bernard received an injection of phenobarbital inside a chamber in a U.S. prison in Terre Haute, Ind., according to The Associated Press

Bernard, 40, was a teenager when when he was convicted in a 1999 double murder in Texas, according to NBC News.  

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His case drew renewed interest in recent days with many on social media and some lawmakers arguing that the death penalty was too harsh a punishment for Bernard, who was 19 when he was sentenced to be executed.

“Tonight, those of us who love Brandon Bernard — and we are many — are full of righteous anger and deep sadness at the actions of the federal government in taking his life,” said Robert C. Owen, Bernard’s attorney.

“Brandon’s life mattered. To us, his legal team; to his two beautiful and talented daughters; to his mother, brother, and sister; and to the countless people around the country who came to know him and his story in recent weeks,"

Bernard’s attorneys asked a federal court of appeals to halt his execution on Wednesday as they explored claims that evidence had been unconstitutionally withheld.

Five jurors who listened to his case and one prosecutor who challenged an appeal by Bernard all came forward to say that they no longer supported the death penalty.

Owen said, "Given that five jurors no longer stand by their death verdict, Brandon must not be executed until the courts have fully addressed the constitutionality of his sentence.”

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The Supreme Court however, declined to stay the execution, according to NBC. 

Several groups and public figures took to social media Thursday night after Bernard was executed. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHouse Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike House set for tight vote on COVID-19 relief package On The Money: Democrats scramble to save minimum wage hike | Personal incomes rise, inflation stays low after stimulus burst MORE (I-Vt.) called for the death penalty to be abolished shortly after Bernard's death. 

 

 

"Our government killed Brandon Bernard tonight," the American Civil Liberties Union wrote on Twitter. 

"Brandon mattered. The death penalty only perpetuates a cycle of trauma. We have to end it once and for all.

Kim Kardashian WestKimberly (Kim) Noel Kardashian WestKim Kardashian West files for divorce from Kanye Biden finds a few Trump moves he'll keep House Democrats renew push for checks on presidential pardons MORE, who has previously asked President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE to stop Bernard's execution expressed her her thoughts following his death. 

"I’m so messed up right now," she said. 

"They killed Brandon. He was such a reformed person. So hopeful and positive until the end. More importantly he is sorry, so sorry for the hurt and pain he has caused others." 

The outlet noted that many states have held off on executions in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but the federal government does not appear to have been dissuaded. Bernard was the ninth person to die by federal execution this year. 

The Department of Justice resumed federal executions in July after a 17-year hiatus. There are four other executions scheduled to take place before President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike Biden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot MORE assumes office on Jan. 20, including the first woman to be executed by the federal government in nearly 70 years, Lisa Montgomery.

Alfred Bourgeois, 56, is scheduled to be executed on Friday for killing his 2-year-old daughter in 2002 while at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. 

Updated 11:03 p.m.