Hours before he was executed by lethal injection, convicted murderer Brandon Bernard had a tearful phone call with Kim Kardashian West.
Kim had been at the forefront of a campaign to convince US president Donald Trump to commute Brandon’s sentence. He had been on death row for 20 years.
The appeal failed, and six hours before he was executed, Kim and Brandon had an emotional conversation.
“Just spoke to Brandon for what will likely be the last time,” Kim tweeted shortly before his death.
“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.”
The reality star went on to admit she “lost it” during the conversation.
“When he told
me he's claustrophobic and they offered to give him a [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.”
Brandon (40) was jailed in Indiana after he was found guilty of two counts of murder in 2000.
When he was 18, Brandon was involved in the abduction and robbery of two youth ministers, Todd and Stacie Bagley, in Texas.
Kim acknowledged that his crime was “terrible”, but she argued that Brandon’s 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— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) December 10, 2020
Brandon set alight the car in which the ministers were travelling after Christopher Vialva (19) shot the pair.
Brandon’s lawyers had argued that both victims had most likely died before the car was set alight, but soot was found in the lungs of one victim, indicating that she had been burnt alive.
His co-accused were spared death sentences because they were juveniles.
Kim called on President Trump to commute Brandon’s death sentence to a life prison sentence.
“Most of the time executions happen, in our names, without a lot of attention given to them. This is unacceptable,” the reality TV star tweeted.
“For the next 24 hours I will be tweeting about Brandon and his case and why his life should be spared by @realDonaldTrump.”
She urged her followers to tweet the president but her petition failed and Brandon was executed.
“I’m so messed up right now. They killed Brandon. He was such a reformed person,” Kim wrote.
“So hopeful and positive until the end. More importantly he is sorry, so sorry for the hurt and pain he has caused others.”
Kim led a high-profile campaign, alongside Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, to have the prison sentence of Alice Johnson commuted.
Alice was sentenced to life imprisonment by a US court in 1996 for drug dealing. It was her first offence, and a non-violent one. Alice, who at the time was recently divorced and desperate to make money, became a telephone mule, relaying messages between drug distributors and dealers.
In 2018, at the
age of 63, Alice was released after 21 years imprisonment when Trump granted
“I think I was just the water that watered the seed,” Alice said of Kim’s decision to pursue a law degree.
“I came along, and she blossomed. I saw a woman who was like Superwoman; she wouldn’t stop at anything for my freedom.”
After successfully freeing Alice, Kim announced her plans to take the bar exam in 2022.
You haven’t missed the news that she’s in law school; instead Kim is doing a four-year apprenticeship at a law firm in San Francisco, California, where this is a legally acceptable route to become a lawyer.
“I just felt like I wanted to be able to fight for people who have paid their dues to society,” Kim told Vogue.
“I just felt like the system could be so different, and I wanted to fight to fix it, and if I knew more, I could do more.”