Convicted murderer seeks Trump clemency, citing jurors' regret for death penalty
(Reuters)- A convicted killer due to be hanged next month by the US government pleaded for clemency on Tuesday to President Donald Trump and claimed he was to serve life in jail because of regrets from five attorneys in his prosecution.
At a court martial in 2000, Brandon Bernard and Christopher Vialva are found guilty on the Fort Hood Army base of Texas of a carjacket and assassination of Todd and Stacie Bagley and married Christian young ministers.
Five out of nine remaining attorneys produced a signed declaration or assertion that Bernard's lawyers had been representing a client who was 18 when the offense was committed.
Calvin Kruger, the jury chief of staff, wrote in his affidavit, "It seems to me that his lawyer went through the motions and nothing more.
Bernard's attorneys argue that Bernard was not present in the group who murdered the Bagleys and that he was not present when the Bagleys were stolen by Vialva and brought into his vehicle.
Later on, Bernard pursued Vialva's instructions to set fire to the vehicle, based on documents of the tribunal, after the couple had dismissed the Vialva who had 19 at the point.
While both Bernard and Vialva are indeed accepted by all five jurors, they also claimed that Bernard did not seemed to destroy the Bagleys.
His show is scheduled for 10 December.
The first Black man to meet the sentence after the Trump administration decided to administer death penalty in the federal prison system in September, Vialva was executed with fatal executions. After a 17 year span.
At that time, some states managed to execute individuals convicted in state courts of capital crimes.
In a telephone interview one of five jurors, Gary McClung, said he regretted his support for Bernard's death sentence, who in his mind, was washed away by a crime he did not commit.
"I had misgivings from the beginning," he said.
"I just didn't stand for my convictions as I should have initially during the trial, and it's something that has weighed on my conscience for a good while."
He said that during the courtroom, the two allegations were remarkably different: "pretty harsh, sometimes a little indifferent to what was going on;" Bernard said, "seemed pretty broken" and "overwhelmed by the whole situation."
In addition to the request for input, the U.S. Department of Justice has not presented clemency requests on behalf of the President.
The Bagleys' family could not be contacted for a statement but Todd Bagley's mother, Georgia Bailey, claimed that Trump's restart of executions brought about a closing of family and justice after Vialva's execution.
This year the U.S. government has killed seven individuals, more than double the amount combined of Trump's predecessors in 1963.
Three more executions, including Bernard's, are set for November and December.
There was a mistake (Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; editing by Grant McCool)