Updated: Dec 14, 2020
December 10, 2020, at 9:27 PM a man named Brandon Bernard was executed for a “crime” he committed 22 years ago when he was just 18 years old. By the time the majority of people found out around the world, it was too late to save him. Social media like Instagram and Tiktok were/are rampant with guilt and sorrow. I can personally claim that I spent the past 2 days crying for this man who did not deserve what he got. Let me just announce that by no means was he innocent, but nor did he deserve to die. From his story, you will be able to see how the system disproportionately targets minorities. We need to fight against this and do better.
When Brandon Bernard was 18 years old he was convicted of the murder of Stacie and Todd Bagley. He along with 4 others came up to the couple while they were on their way to church and asked for a ride. The couple agreed and then the teens robbed them and proceeded to put them in the trunk and drive to an empty area. One of the teens, Christopher Vialva shot them and then Brandon set the car on fire. There are rumors and speculations that Brandon tried to resist doing so but he was forced to at gunpoint. Despite medical records demonstrating that the couple was dead before the car being set on fire, Brandon was convicted on 2 counts of murder. He had been on death row for pretty much the entirety of the rest of his life. He was locked up 23 hours a day for 17 years with barely any light, all of this punishment for being a mere accomplice.
You may be thinking that he deserves what he got, but I beg to disagree. Yes, he may deserve the life sentence, but he did NOT deserve to die for a crime he committed when he was just 18 years old! At 18 years old, our brains are not fully developed. Therefore, he should not have been executed for a crime he committed 22 years ago when he has had all this time to change and become a better person. Even the jurors who initially agreed he should be sent to death changed their minds. They repudiated his death verdict and demanded his life be spared due to all of the progress he made in prison. Not once did he act violently despite all of the forces that acted against him. Not to mention he also helped teens avoid going down a criminal path.
Many people claim that his execution has nothing to do with his race, which once again I beg to disagree with. You may be wondering how I have come to this conclusion. My answer to this would be through examining murder cases done by white men. Let’s take 3 specific cases into account: the murder of George Floyd, school shooter Nikolas Cruz, and family killer Chris Watts. The murder of George Floyd, which we are all familiar with and I will link my post about it below, was done by a white man by the name of Derek Chauvin. A common argument against my claim is that Derek did not have the intent to murder. Well, how do we know Brandon had the intent to murder? Next, Nikolas Cruz, another white male. You may not be familiar with this boy, but he killed 17 people and injured 17 people. He committed this crime at 19 years old. He was scheduled to be sent to the death penalty summer of 2020, but this didn’t happen, and until we have proof otherwise, it’s because he’s white. Another case I can bring up is Chris Watts who killed his wife and 2 daughters. Yet, no death penalty for him because he is white. From this, there is no way you can deny that Brandon was targeted for the death penalty because of his race, one of the major cons of capital punishment.
With all of the information I have provided, we can see how the system did not treat Brandon Bernard fairly. It is beyond devastating that we were not able to do anything. However, there are still more people who are set to be sentenced to the death penalty before the end of Trump’s presidency. I will be linking petitions and other actions to the Take Action page of my blog so that we can help these people. I will be linking petitions and other actions to the Take Action page of my blog so that we can help these men. Although we can’t set them free, we can let them live. Thank you for reading.
TAKE ACTION: https://www.thepoliticblog.com/blank-page Will be updated soon!
George Floyd case: https://www.thepoliticblog.com/post/police-brutality-george-floyd