Brandon Bernard was executed by the federal government on Thursday at the Federal Correctional Center in Terre Haute, Indiana, according to a pool report.

Bernard, 40, was one of five gang members convicted in Texas of killing Stacie and Todd Bagley — who were youth ministers — in 1999. The gunman, Christopher Vialva, was executed in September, while the other co-defendants were given lesser sentences.
Bernard was pronounced dead at 9:27 p.m. He was the youngest person in the United States to receive a death sentence in nearly 70 years for a crime committed when he was an adolescent.

Bernard said he had been waiting for his chance to apologize to the family of the Bagleys and his own family for the pain he caused.
“I’m sorry … I wish I could take it all back, but I can’t,” Bernard said to the family of the Bagleys during his three-minute last words. “That’s the only words that I can say that completely capture how I feel now and how I felt that day.”
The Bagley family thanked Trump and the federal government for carrying out the sentence in their statements.
“I pray that Brandon has accepted Christ as his Savior, because if he has, Todd and Stacie will welcome him into Heaven with love and forgiveness,” Charles Woodard wrote on behalf of the Bagley family.
“It has been a 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,” Georgia A. Bagley, Todd’s mother,wrote. “This senseless act of unnecessary evil was premeditated and had many opportunities to be stopped at any time during a 9-hour period. This was torture, as they pleaded for their lives from the trunk of their own car.”
Georgia Bagley spoke to reporters within 30 minutes of the execution and became emotional when she spoke about Bernard’s and Vialva’s apologies.
“The apology and remorse … helped very much heal my heart,” she said, beginning to cry and recompose herself. “I can very much say: I forgive them.”

Bernard’s execution was scheduled this fall by the government. It was the ninth execution since Attorney General William Barr announced restarting federal executions after a 17-year hiatus — a decision that has been fraught with controversy, especially during the global pandemic, and could be halted under President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
However, that may be too late for the five federal death row inmates scheduled to die before Inauguration Day, January 20.

Attention gotten by the case:
Bernard’s case has been in the spotlight for months, grabbing headlines and the attention of both politicians and celebrities who wanted the execution to be stopped.
Kim Kardashian West called for Trump to grant a commutation for Bernard; Rep. Ayana Pressley, Democrat of Massachusetts, brought awareness to legislation she introduced last year to end the death penalty at the federal level; the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson called on the President to commute the sentences of and pardon all the inmates scheduled for execution; and 23 elected and former prosecutors filed an amicus brief on Wednesday in support of Bernard’s appeal due to allegations of prosecutorial misconuct.

After a lower court judge denied Bernard’s motion to stay the execution on Wednesday, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied an emergency motion and the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit also denied the appeal on Thursday, according to court documents.
Attorneys Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr joined Bernard’s legal team late on Thursday and had filed a petition with the Supreme Court requesting to delay the execution for two weeks so they could get up to speed on Bernard’s case. The attorneys’ most recent and notable client was President Donald Trump during his impeachment hearings earlier this year.
The Supreme Court denied the petition, with three justices issuing public dissents.
“Brandon’s execution is a stain on America’s criminal justice system. But I pray that even in his death, Brandon will advance his commitment to helping others by moving us closer to a time when this country does not pointlessly and maliciously kill young Black men who pose no threat to anyone,” Bernard’s attorney Robert Owens said in a statement.

The court’s decision left Trump as Bernard’s last hope. The President did not act.
Trump was made aware of the case — and of the calls by celebrities and activists to commute Bernard’s sentence — over the past several days, according to a person familiar with the matter, but he was not swayed to intervene. The person said Trump was unmoved because of the violent nature of the crime. Trump has backed Barr in his push to complete federal executions before his term ends next month.
Owens had sought to have a hearing about newly discovered evidence that was not presented at Bernard’s 2000 trial. Owens argued in Bernard’s appeal that, during a resentencing hearing in 2018 for another co-defendant, it was revealed that the trial prosecutors had withheld evidence that diminished Bernard’s role in the crime.
Prosecutors argued on Wednesday in court documents opposing Bernard’s appellate motion that “the jury heard ample evidence indicating that Bernard did not have a leadership role in the gang — and was not even a full-fledged member.”
“Procedural barriers have prevented him (Bernard) from obtaining a hearing on the merits of his claim. … By denying a stay of execution to Brandon Bernard, the court will allow the government to evade responsibility for hiding critical evidence that would have changed the outcome of Brandon’s sentencing,” Owens said in a news release issued on Wednesday.
Five of the sentencing jurors came forward saying that if they had been aware of the undisclosed information, they would not have agreed to sentence Bernard to death, Owens said.

Original reporting by CNN