Killer Says ‘I’m Ready, Father’ As He Becomes First Black Inmate To Be Executed This Year


A former gang member who murdered two young married Christian ministers at a military base as a teenager has been executed after 21 years.Convicted killer Christopher Vialva has become the first black man to face the federal death penalty since the sentence resumed this summer after a 17-year hiatus.

The death row inmate was just 19 when he and other gang members in Killeen, Texas, killed Todd and Stacie Bagley, a white couple from Iowa, at Fort Hood in 1999.

In a final statement, Vialva, 40, asked God to comfort the families of the couple he killed, saying, “Father… heal their hearts with grace and love. “

The guard towers rise above the grounds of the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Complex

His last words were: “I am ready, Father”.

He was pronounced dead Thursday at 6:46 p.m. after officials from the US Department of Justice injected him with pentobarbital, a barbiturate, in the execution chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana, according to a reporter serving as a witness. in the media.

According to court records, Vialva and his accomplices were looking for someone to steal when they found Todd Bagley using a pay phone at a convenience store, and he agreed to drive them in his car.

Vialva’s last words were “I’m ready, Father”

In the back seat, Vialva pulled out a gun and ordered Bagley and his wife to get into the trunk of the car.

After forcing Bagley to disclose his PIN, Vialva withdrew money from Bagley’s account at an ATM, although there was less than $ 100 on deposit.

He used the money to buy fast food and cigarettes, among other things.

Vialva and her mother Lisa Brown on a prison visit

During the few hours spent in the trunk, the Bagleys could be heard telling their captors to embrace Christianity.

Eventually, Vialva parked the car in a secluded part of Fort Hood, opened the trunk, and shot the two Bagleys in the head, killing Todd and rendering Stacie unconscious.

Accomplice Brandon Bernard then set the car on fire, and an autopsy showed Stacie Bagley to have died from smoke inhalation.

Vialva was the sixth federal execution this year

It was the sixth federal execution this year and the second this week, after the practice resumed by the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Under Trump, the Justice Department has now executed twice as many men this year as all of Trump’s predecessors combined since 1963.

The last time the U.S. government executed six or more people in a single year was in 1942, according to the Washington Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC).

The execution of 40-year-old Vialva comes as the nation grapples with racial disparities in the criminal justice system, with daily protests in American cities against police brutality against blacks.

Of the 56 federal death row inmates, 26, or 46%, are black and 22, or 39%, are white.

Blacks make up only 13% of the American population.

The DPIC released a report this month concluding that racial prejudice persists in the US death penalty system.

The report states that white assassins are more likely to be sentenced to death than black assassins.

And a study in North Carolina found that qualified black jurors were removed from juries at more than twice the rate of qualified white jurors.

In Vialva’s trial in the United States District Court for West Texas in 2000, a jury of 11 whites and one black person convicted him of carjacking and murder, and voted to quash him. ‘they receive the death penalty.

Bernard’s execution date has not been set.

The United States Civil Liberties Union has said Vialva was unfairly tried as an adult and circulated a video of him this month talking about prison on racial disparities.

“The death penalty has been used disproportionately against blacks for decades,” Vialva says in the video.

“People don’t know that many of us here were arrested before we were old enough to drink. “


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