A Louisiana trucker who tortured and murdered his two-year-old daughter has become the 10th federal inmate executed by the Trump administration, as he used his final words to protest his innocence and claimed people ‘plotted and schemed’ against him.
Alfred Bourgeois, 56, was put to death by lethal injection Friday night at Terra Haute penitentiary, Indiana, after the Supreme Court denied his request for a stay when his lawyers argued he was intellectually disabled.
Bourgeois was pronounced dead at 8:21 p.m. Eastern time.
In his last words, he failed to show remorse for his crimes and offered no apology.
Instead he insisted that he neither killed nor sexually abused his baby girl and that he was falsely convicted of the crime after people ‘planted false evidence’ against him.
‘I ask God to forgive all those who plotted and schemed against me, and planted false evidence,’ he said, before adding: ‘I did not commit this crime.’
But a statement from other members of the toddler’s family after the execution described Bourgeois as a ‘monster’ saying she ‘lost her life brutally to a monster who lived for 18 years after the crime.’
‘None of us thought she would return from [visiting Bourgeois] in a casket,’ the family said in a statement, distributed by the Bureau of Prisons.
‘Now we can start the process of healing. It should not have taken 18 years for us to receive justice for our angel. She will forever be loved and missed.’
Bourgeois is now the 10th federal death-row inmate put to death since federal executions resumed under Donald Trump in July after a 17-year hiatus and the second to be executed this week.
Three more executions are planned for January as the Trump administration continues to push them through before Joe Biden’s inauguration in what is an highly unprecedented move.
Alfred Bourgeois, 56, was put to death by lethal injection Friday night at Terra Haute penitentiary, Indiana, after the Supreme Court denied his last-minute request for a stay when his lawyers argued he was intellectually disabled
Bourgeois was administered the lethal injection of pentobarbital. As it flowed through IVs in both of his arms, he tilted his head to the side to look at his spiritual adviser who was standing in a corner of the death chamber clutching a small Bible.
Bourgeois gave him a thumbs up sign, and his spiritual adviser raised his thumb in reply.
Seconds later, Bourgeois peered up toward the glass dividing him from the media and other witnesses in adjoining rooms, and then grimaced and furrowed his eyebrows.
He began to exhale rhythmically, and his stomach started to quiver uncontrollably.
After five minutes, the heaving of his stomach stopped and his entire body became still. He did not move for about 20 minutes before he was pronounced dead.
Bourgeois’ attorneys had filed a request for a delay to his execution saying he had an IQ that put him in the intellectually disabled category, making him ineligible for the death penalty under federal law.
Victor J. Abreu said it was ‘shameful’ to execute his client ‘without fair consideration of his intellectual disability.’
They said Bourgeois had tests that demonstrated his IQ was around 70, well below average, and that his childhood history buttressed their claims.
But the Supreme Court rejected the claim with Justices Sotomayor and Kagan dissenting.
The two justices published a dissent saying his execution should have been stayed and he should have been given an opportunity for a hearing to prove the case around his intellectual disability.
A handful of demonstrators gathered across Prairieton Road from the Federal Death Chamber Friday protesting the federal execution, holding signs reading ‘Execute justice, not people’.
Bourgeois met with his spiritual adviser Friday as he sought to come to terms with the possibility of dying, and he was also praying, one of his lawyers, Shawn Nolan told The Associated Press just hours before the execution.
‘He certainly doesn’t want to die – and it’s harder for him to grasp being killed by the federal government. But he does get it that this is bad.’
Nolan added: ‘He’s praying for redemption.’
A handful of demonstrators gathered across Prairieton Road from the Federal Death Chamber Friday protesting against the federal execution
Abe Bonowitz, co-director of Death Penalty Action, lights a menorah after saying a prayer
Bourgeois took up drawing in prison, including doing renditions of members of his legal team.
Nolan said he hadn’t been a troublemaker on death row and had a good disciplinary record.
The convicted killer’s execution was originally planned for January 13 but he was granted a stay by the District Court for the District of Columbia over the use of the lethal injection.
In February, the US Supreme Court ruled that another death row inmate Bobby Moore was not eligible for the death penalty because he was intellectually disabled.
The following month, Bourgeois’ legal team argued that he was intellectually disabled and so should also be exempt from execution.
Several appeals courts concluded that neither evidence nor criminal law on intellectual disability supported the claims by Bourgeois’ legal team.
The Supreme Court Friday rejected his final attempt to secure a stay, soon after the court rejected the election challenge filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to throw out votes in four states.
Bourgeois’ lawyers contended that the apparent hurry by Trump, a Republican, to get executions in before the January 20 inauguration of death-penalty foe Joe Biden, a Democrat, deprived their client his rights to exhaust his legal options.
The Justice Department gave Bourgeois just 21 days notice he was to be executed under protocols that slashed the required notice period from 90 days, Nolan said.
‘It is remarkable. To rush these executions during the pandemic and everything else, makes absolutely no sense,’ he said.
It is the second federal execution in as many days at the US federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana (seen above) and the 10th since federal executions resumed under Donald Trump in July after a 17-year hiatus
Bourgeois, a Louisiana truck driver, was sentenced to death after he severely abused his 2-year-old daughter for weeks in 2002, then killed her by slamming her head against a truck’s windows and dashboard.
According to court filings, he gained temporary custody of the child, referred to in court papers only as ‘JG,’ after a 2002 paternity suit from a Texas woman.
Bourgeois was living in Louisiana with his wife and their two children.
Over the next month, Bourgeois whipped the girl with an electrical cord, burned her feet with a cigarette lighter and hit her in the head with a plastic baseball bat so hard that her head swelled – then refused to seek medical treatment for her, court documents say.
Prosecutors also said he sexually abused her.
Her toilet training allegedly enraged Bourgeois and he would sometimes force her to sleep on a training toilet.
It was during a trucking run to Corpus Christi, Texas, that he ended up killing the toddler.
Again angered by her toilet training, he grabbed her inside the truck by her shoulders and slammed her head on the windows and dashboard four times, court filings say.
When the girl lost consciousness, Bourgeois’ wife pleaded for him to get help and he told her to tell first responders that she was hurt falling from the truck.
She died the next day in a hospital of brain injuries.
Bourgeois was convicted in 2004 and sentenced to death.
Bernard, 40, on Thursday received a lethal injection as planned at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, in a rare execution of a person who was in his teens when the crime occurred
Throughout Thursday, there was a growing groundswell by celebrities including Kim Kardashian who were pushing for the execution to be halted, as pictured above
On Thursday, Brandon Bernard was put to death for his part in a 1999 killing of a religious couple from Iowa after he and other teenage members of a gang abducted and robbed Todd and Stacie Bagley in Texas.
Bernard, who was 18 at the time of the killings, was a rare execution of a person who was in his teens when his crime was committed.
Several high-profile figures, including reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, appealed to Trump to commute Bernard’s sentence to life in prison, citing, among other things, Bernard’s youth at the time and the remorse he has expressed over years.
Prosecutors said Bernard’s accomplice Christopher Vialva, who was executed in September, was the ringleader who shot the Bagleys, as they lay in the trunk before Bernard set the car on fire.
The five teenagers involved, three of whom were under 18 at the time, approached the Bagleys in the afternoon on June 21 1999 and asked them for a lift after they stopped at a convenience store – planning all along to rob the couple.
After the Bagleys agreed, Vialva pulled a gun and forced them into the trunk.
The Bagleys, both of whom were in their 20s, spoke through an opening in the back seat and urged their kidnappers to accept Jesus as they drove around for hours trying to use the Bagleys’ ATM cards.
After the teens pulled to the side of the road, Vialva walked to the back and shot the Bagleys in the head.
The central question in the decision to sentence Bernard to death was whether Vialva’s gunshots or the fire set by Bernard killed the Bagleys.
Kardashian spoke out after the execution claiming the ‘system is so f****d up’
Bernard and accomplice Christopher Vialva were sentenced to death in 2000 after a jury found them guilty of carjacking and murdering Todd and Stacie Bagley (above), married Christian youth ministers from Iowa
Three more executions are planned for just days before Biden’s inauguration.
Lisa Montgomery, 43, will become the first female federal prisoner to be executed in 70 years on January 12, after she was convicted of strangling a pregnant woman to death and cutting the unborn baby out of her womb in 2004.
Cory Johnson is scheduled to be put death on January 14 for the 1992 murders of seven people after he went on a killing spree of rival drug dealers among others.
Dustin John Higgs will then be executed just five days before Biden is sworn in on January 15 for kidnapping and murdering three women back in 1996.
The decision to move forward with federal executions has drawn scrutiny from civil rights groups.
Critics argued that the Trump administration, which has been pushing for the executions, was creating an unnecessary and manufactured urgency for political gain ahead of the 2020 election.
Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department has a duty to carry out the sentences imposed by the courts, including the death penalty, and to bring a sense of closure to the victims and those in the communities where the killings happened.
Biden has vowed to end federal executions when he takes office and said he will incentivize states to stop state executions as well.
The last time the number of civilians executed federally was in the double digits in a year was under President Grover Cleveland, with 14 in 1896.
The series of executions under Trump since Election Day, the first in late November, is also the first time in more than 130 years that federal executions have occurred during a lame-duck period.
Cleveland also was the last president to do that.
Daniel Lewis Lee was the first to be put to death by the federal government in almost two decades back in July.
Lee, 47, of Yukon, Oklahoma, was executed Tuesday morning at the same Indiana facility, when he died by lethal injection after the Supreme Court cleared the way overnight with a 5-4 vote.
The self-confessed white supremacist was convicted in Arkansas of the 1996 killings of gun dealer William Mueller, his wife Nancy, and her 8-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell.
Who are the remaining two men and one woman set to be executed during the Trump presidency’s final days and what were their crimes?
Lisa Montgomery – scheduled for execution January 12
Lisa Montgomery, 52, would be the first woman to be executed by the federal government since 1953.
She is on death row after murdering Bobbie Jo Stinnett in Missouri in 2004. She strangled the 23-year-old and cut her baby out of her womb with a carving knife – running off with the premature child.
The baby, Victoria Jo Stinnett, survived the attack and is now 16 years old.
Planning the heinous crime for months, she met her victim online under the pretence that she was interested in buying a puppy from her.
Lisa Montgomery, 52, is currently scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on January 12. She is set to become the first woman to be executed in the US since Bonnie Heady in 1953
Montgomery posed as ‘Darlene Fischer’ and started chatting with Stinnett in the chatroom called ‘Ratter Chatter.’
She told her victim she was pregnant and the two women chatted in the room and over email about their pregnancies.
Stinnett was eight months’ pregnant while Montgomery was faking her pregnancy, telling her victim as well as her family and friends that she was full term.
On December 16, 2004, the two women arranged to meet at Stinnett’s home over the purchase of the puppy, a rat terrier. Once inside, Montgomery strangled Stinnett with a neon pink rope until she lost consciousness.
When Montgomery sliced her stomach open with a knife, Stinnett regained consciousness and a struggle ensued.Montgomery then strangled the pregnant woman again, killing her.
She then cut the baby girl from her victim’s womb and made off with the premature child, attempting to pass off the girl as her own.
Cory Johnson – scheduled for execution January 14
Cory Johnson was convicted of the murder of seven people in 1992 after he went on a killing spree of rival drug dealers among others.
Cory Johnson is scheduled to be put death on January 14 for the 1992 murders of seven people after he went on a killing spree of rival drug dealers among others
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, federal court sentenced Johnson and some fellow gang members – James H. Roane and Richard Tipton – to death in 1993.
Their conviction for the death of ten people in total took place during one the deadliest decades in the city’s history.
Among the list of victims were people suspected of snitching on the gang and rival drug dealers.
One person was stabbed 85 times and one was shot 16 times.
At the age of 13 Johnson’s mother, a drug addict, left him at residential facility for children with learning and emotional impairments – claiming she couldn’t cope with his issues.
He was later released into the community, at 18 years old.
Dustin John Higgs – scheduled for execution January 15
Dustin John Higgs, 48, was convicted of ordering the 1996 murders of three women at a federal wildlife center near Beltsville, Maryland.
Dustin John Higgs is due to be executed on January 15 before Biden is sworn in on for kidnapping and murdering three women back in 1996
Prosecutors say Higgs and two others abducted the women after Higgs became enraged because one of the women rebuffed his advances at party.
Higgs’ attorney, Sean Nolan, said his client didn’t kill anyone, had ineffective attorneys and didn’t deserve the death penalty.
Higgs’ co-defendant, who prosecutors said carried out the killings, was not sentenced to death and Nolan said it is ‘arbitrary and inequitable to punish Mr. Higgs more severely than the person who committed the murders.’
The co-defendant also claims Higgs ordered them to carry out the murders.
‘Mr. Higgs deserves clemency because of the unfair sentencing disparity … and because, despite the tragedy and hardship of his early life, he has been a model prisoner and is an active parent who is essential to the well-being of his son,’ Nolan said.