As the BLM movement and political activists take to social media to mourn Brandon Bernard, the public loses sight of his role in the 1999 murders.
In June 1999, three gang members planned to abduct and rob a motorist at gunpoint. They would abandon them and lock them in their trunk. Brandon Bernard (18) was enlisted to help.
Bernard brought his own gun for the group and drove them around to find a victim.
Later, the original three gang members found Todd and Stacy Bagley, two youth ministers.
Two gang members asked Todd for a ride, he agreed. Once in the car, the trio robbed the Bagleys at gunpoint (with Bernard's gun), forced them into the trunk. They drove around for hours.
Bernard wasn't present during the initial abduction.
When Bernard rejoined the group, he was told the group had to kill the Bagley's.
Brandon went to get lighter fluid and then poured it onto the car. The Bagley's were in the trunk calling out to God and praying for their lives.
Prior to this, one of the members left, not wanting to continue with the crime.
Stacie Bagley told the gang that Jesus loves them. In response, a gang member cursed and shot them both with Bernard's gun.
Bernard then set fire to the car.
The Trial And Sentencing
A federal jury found Bernard guilty of:
One count of carjacking resulting in death.
One count of conspiring to murder the Bagleys.
Two counts of first degree murder.
Things To Note
1. The jurors sentenced Bernard to death for the killing of Stacie.
It was originally believed that Todd was instantly killed while Stacie died from the car fire. A later report claims they both died before the fire.
2. Years after, five of the nine jurors changed their mind and did not want him to face the death penalty.
3. Some have reported that an expert witness was prevented from testifying that Bernard held a low position in the gang. The DOJ report contradicts that.
Information about the gang's hierarchy was made available through testimony that explained the structure of the gang.