BRANDON Bernard’s childhood friend and accomplice in the murders which put him on death row wept and hugged his mother when the 40-year-old was executed.
Terry Brown was freed from prison in January after serving 20 years second degree murder following the brutal killings of Todd and Stacie Bagley.
Bernard, pictured with daughter Kiara, was sentenced to death for his role in the murders of Todd and Stacie Bagley[/caption]
The 39-year-old was with his mother, Alice, at her home in Killeen, Texas, close to where the murders took place when they heard Brandon had been put to death by lethal injection.
Brown’s mom Alice told The Sun: “We embraced and hugged, we wept, we held each other close. I’m grateful for his life and I pray for the families of the victims.”
Alice, 60, who warns young people about becoming involved in violent crime, said her son regrets the killings “every day” and the Bagleys are “always in his thoughts.”
Brown and Bernard were childhood friends before the Bagleys, a young Christian couple, were carjacked and shot in the head by Christopher Vialva, on June 21, 1999.
Bernard, pictured as a child, was 18 when the crime took place, in June 1999[/caption]
Six youngsters were convicted in the killings of Todd and Stacie, who were executed in a remote area of the Fort Hood Army base.
Their charred remains were found side by side in the trunk of their car after Brandon set the vehicle alight.
Vialva, 19 at the time, was executed in September of this year for his role in the murders.
Brown, who was just 17 at the time, confessed to being part of the kidnapping gang.
Kim Kardashian led a high-profile campaign to try to get Brandon’s sentence commuted to life imprisonment[/caption]
Brown’s testimony during the trial in 2000 helped prosecutors secure the death sentence for Brandon and the shooter.
He moved back to Killeen after being freed earlier in the year and his mother says he now hopes to one day have a family and a “normal life.”
Alice, who is a friend of Brandon’s mother, Thelma, said: “Terry and Brandon were childhood friends, dear friends.
Brandon Bernard’s victims Todd and Stacie Bagley had been married for just three years when they were killed[/caption]
The murdered couple, both devout Christians, dreamt of one day having a family of their own[/caption]
“Brandon was a good kid. He never did anything bad, he was a playful spirit.
“His mom was a lieutenant colonel I believe, in the Army. She was a woman of God.
“Brandon was not there when the couple were kidnapped. He was not a killer. This was not gang related.
“He should not have been executed.
Christopher Vialva, pictured before he was executed for shooting Todd and Stacie Bagley in the head[/caption]
“He should have got life in prison and we’re grateful for Kim Kardashian and the others trying to make that happen.
“Even though that failed, we hope it helps other families in the same situation in the future.
“And we always remember the families of the couple, too. Terry regrets what happened to them every single day.”
She said she was grateful her son now has a chance to rebuild his life.
The couple were killed in a remote part of the controversial Fort Hood Army base in Killeen, Texas[/caption]
“As a mother I feel all the hurt and pain the other families are feeling,” she said.
“I wish I could take all their pain away and take it on myself.
“I wish the other families had the gift of their child’s life.
“This devastated Terry and it devastated us as a family.
“None of these kids involved in what happened were raised that way. It was a robbery gone wrong.
“But at least my son has a life and we get to see him. Terry is till torn up about it and I know it is in his mind all the time as it was when he was in prison.
Kim Kardashian, who is studying to become an attorney, has lobbied the President on behalf of prisoners[/caption]
“With Brandon’s death we are trying to look forward. Hopefully Terry gets a family and has a chance at a normal life.
“I try to warn kids now, local kids, not to get involved in this kind of violence because of the terrible things it can lead to.”
The Bagleys “dreamt” of having children of their own before they were brutally killed, The Sun can also reveal.
Bill Tvedt, head of the Jubilee Family Church in Oskaloosa, Iowa, where Todd and Stacie were youth ministers, said the couple “always wanted children.”
Tvedt and his wife Julie, members of the church for 27 years, were friends with the young devout Christians.
Speaking to The Sun, Tvedt said the church has forgiven executed killers Brandon and Christopher Vialva.
He said: “Todd and Stacie dreamt of having children, family was very important to them. They always wanted children.
“They were brilliant with kids and young people and that’s why they tried to help these young men before they died.
“They were such sweet and gentle people, extremely committed to the welfare of children and teenagers.”
He said his church had long forgiven the executed to “show the love of God”.
“Our position is we have forgiven the two young men who have been executed and hold no malice towards them,” he said.
“Our prayers are with them to be with God. That has been our greatest desire, to show the love of God by forgiving and praying for them so that they would get right with God.
“Our concern is for their eternal souls.”
He said he would not comment whether he was for or against the death penalty or the failed campaign by Kim Kardashian to have Bernard’s sentence commuted to life imprisonment.
“I can’t comment on the civil world and the laws of man, that’s another matter which is out of my hands completely,” he said.
“I would not want to make a comment on the death penalty. All I can say is, we have exercised forgiveness, love and prayer.”
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He said the church members were trying to come to terms with the murders of Todd and Stacie by coming to see that “all people are lost and in a fallen state.”
He explained: “All people are prone to be sinful and that sin affects people adversely, and some are hurt far more than others.
“We will continue to pray for all those involved.”