The American reality star and businesswoman, Kim Kardashian’s heart is breaking over the impending execution of inmate Brandon Bernard. She’s been fighting for his life, but says she broke down during their ‘final call.’
Brandon Bernard, 40, was convicted of murder in 1999 when he was a teenager, and is the youngest offender to be executed by the federal government in nearly 70 years.
Bernard was pronounced dead at 21:27 local time on Thursday (02:27 GMT Friday) at a penitentiary in the city of Terre Haute.
Despite so many pleas to spare his life, Brandon’s execution has been carried out. The Supreme Court denied a last minute stay of execution and Brandon was put to death by lethal injection in a Terre Haute, IN federal prison on the evening of Dec. 10.
It became the ninth federal execution of 2020, ever since the Trump administration reinstated federal executions in July after a 17-year moratorium. Brandon’s execution also became the first to happen during a presidential lame-duck period in 130 years. Trump still has four more federal executions scheduled to take place before President-Elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2021.
Kim Kardashian‘s efforts on prison reform have helped gain freedom for several inmates. But the latest person she’s trying to help — Brandon Bernard — is hours away from being put to death at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, despite Kim’s plea to President Donald Trump to commute his death sentence. Brandon, now 40, was given the death penalty in 2000 for a crime he committed as a teenager, and Kim just spoke to him for what could be the last time, as he’s already being prepped to receive a lethal injection on the evening of Dec. 10. The conversation has left the 40-year-old aspiring attorney completely broken.
Just spoke to Brandon for what will likely be the last time. Hardest call I’ve ever had. Brandon, selfless as always, was focused on his family and making sure they are ok. He told me not to cry because our fight isn’t over. 😢
When he told me he’s claustrophobic and they offered to give him a shot of Sedative to calm him down before they put him in the chair and he just didn’t want to panic, I literally lost it. I had to mute my phone so he wouldn’t hear me cry like that 😭
We didn’t say goodbye bc we wanted to be hopeful that we would talk again, we said talk to you soon! 💔
“Just spoke to Brandon for what will likely be the last time. Hardest call I’ve ever had. Brandon, selfless as always, was focused on his family and making sure they are ok. He told me not to cry because our fight isn’t over,” she wrote in a tweet just after 2pm PST.
She then explained in another post, “When he told me he’s claustrophobic and they offered to give him a shot of Sedative to calm him down before they put him in the chair and he just didn’t want to panic, I literally lost it. I had to mute my phone so he wouldn’t hear me cry like that,” with a weeping face emoji.
Prison reform advocate Kim is still hopeful for a last minute reprieve, as she wrote in another tweet, We didn’t say goodbye bc we wanted to be hopeful that we would talk again, we said talk to you soon!” Kim has been fighting for Brandon to not be executed since she became aware of his plight in Nov. 2020. “A terrible case has been brought to my attention and I need your help. Without it, on December 12th Brandon Bernard is going to be executed for a crime he participated in as a teenager,” she began a lengthy, multi-tweet message on November 29.
Kim explained how she has “sympathy” for “the victim’s Todd and Stacie Bagley, and their families. My heart breaks for everyone involved.” But “While Brandon did participate in this crime, his role was minor compared to that of the other teens involved, two of whom are home from prison now.
#BrandonBernard should not be executed:
1. He was 18 at the time.
2. He was not the shooter.
3. The prosecutor and 5 of the jurors now support clemency.
4. He’s spent decades in prison w/out a write up, helping at risk youth.
5. There’s bipartisan support for his commutation. pic.twitter.com/18GugdtuOs
— ♡Jess ♡ (@Jess_HFT) December 11, 2020
The prosecutor who fought Brandon’s appeal is now advocating that his sentence be reduced to life in prison. Attorney Angela Moore told CBS News that she’s changed her stance because of “the legal reasons, aside from my own personal beliefs, it’s the evidence and what we have found out since. Mr. Bernard did not shoot and kill the victims in this case. He was not the person who planned this robbery gone wrong. He should not be executed, ever. It’s barbaric. It’s horrific and he does not deserve it.”
Five of the nine surviving nearly all-white jury members in Brandon’s case have gone on record saying they regret their death penalty verdict. Former jury foreperson Calvin Kruger is advocating for a life sentence because he believes Brandon was “not the ringleader behind these offenses, but a follower.”