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Convicted Murderer Facing Lethal Injection Asks Trump To Commute Sentence

Brandon Bernard

Bernard’s sentence is scheduled to be carried out on Dec. 10 in Terre Haute. (Courtesy attorneys for Brandon Bernard)

Brandon Bernard is one of two convicted murderers facing lethal injection next month at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute.

Bernard was part of a gang that kidnapped and killed two youth ministers who were visiting Texas in 1999. One of his co-defendants was executed in September.

Now a majority of the surviving jurors who sentenced both inmates are calling on President Donald Trump to commute Bernard’s sentence.

A clemency petition filed Tuesday asks President Trump to take the jurors’ views as well as Bernard’s age and role into consideration.

The jurors say Bernard played a more minor role and has expressed profound remorse. They now believe life imprisonment is a more appropriate sentence.

Gary McClung was one of the jurors who sentenced Bernard and his co-defendant Christopher Vialva to death for the killings near Fort Hood in Texas. He says it is clear to him now that Vialva was the ringleader and Bernard’s role was secondary.

“I just would hope that President Trump would really consider this. I know it would be a hard decision for someone who wasn’t there at the trial to make,” McClung said.

Bernard’s sentence is scheduled to be carried out on Dec. 10 in Terre Haute. It is one of two executions planned for the same week. Another is scheduled for Nov. 19.

READ MORE: U.S. Government Schedules New Federal Execution At Indiana Prison

The Trump administration resumed carrying out federal death sentences this summer. The government has executed seven people since July.

Yesterday at the UN human rights council, several countries criticized the U.S. for its use of the death penalty and other alleged rights abuses. They called on president-elect Joe Biden to institute reforms when he takes office next January.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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