WASHINGTON – The Justice Department on Friday executed Alfred Bourgeois, a 56-year-old inmate sentenced to death for the murder of his 2-year-old daughter in 2002.
The execution of Mr. Bourgeois was the 10th carried out by the Trump administration since the federal government resumed its application of the death penalty in July after a 17-year hiatus. The latest planned by the Trump administration for 2020, the execution of Mr. Bourgeois adds to what has become the deadliest year in federal capital punishment history since at least the 1920s.
Mr. Bourgeois was pronounced dead at 8:21 p.m. at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., According to the Bureau of Prisons.
On Thursday, the federal government executed Brandon Bernard, despite a high-profile campaign for leniency that included Kim Kardashian West and two lawyers who helped defend President Trump during his impeachment. Mr. Trump’s administration has executed three people since polling day, the only federal executions during the lame period before a new presidential administration for at least 90 years.
The Justice Department said that Mr. Bourgeois, once a truck driver living in Louisiana, tortured and beat his young daughter to death. After a paternity test established him as the father and a court ordered him to pay child support, Mr Bourgeois temporarily took custody of his daughter, court documents show.
When the child knocked over his potty chair in Mr Bourgeois’ truck, he attacked the girl and she died the next day, the Justice Department said. After the jury heard testimony of his violence against others, Mr. Bourgeois was sentenced to death in 2004 for the murder, which was a federal offense because it occurred at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Force Base.
In his last words, Mr. Bourgeois did not apologize, according to a report from a journalist present. Rather, he claimed that he had not killed his daughter.
“I ask God to forgive all those who conspired and conspired against me, and filed false evidence,” he said, adding, “I did not commit this crime.”
As the lethal injection began, Mr. Bourgeois gave a thumbs up to his spiritual advisor, standing in a corner of the death chamber, according to the report. Within minutes, his body was still.
In a statement, the victim’s family said they can now begin the healing process, but justice should not have taken 18 years.
The department had scheduled the execution of Mr. Bourgeois last January but the month before, the Supreme Court let a lower court ruling hold that blocked it. An Indiana federal judge also suspended his case in March, after his defense claimed Mr. Bourgeois was intellectually disabled and ineligible for the death penalty. Another court canceled that trip in October.
The federal death penalty law prohibits the government from executing a mentally disabled inmate under the law, and the Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that mentally disabled felons cannot be put to death. His lawyers claimed that Mr Bourgeois had obtained IQ scores low enough to constitute evidence of intellectual functioning deficits and underwent other assessments which they said helped show he should be exempted from the penalty. capital city.
But like other detainees executed by the federal government this year, Mr. Bourgeois was unsuccessful with his final plea to delay his execution. The Supreme Court rejected Mr Bourgeois’ request for suspension on Friday, with justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissenting. Joined by Judge Kagan, Judge Sotomayor wrote that the court should resolve the legal issue in his case which is likely to recur before sanctioning the execution of Mr. Bourgeois.
Victor J. Abreu, lawyer for Mr. Bourgeois, argued that the government had killed his client without due consideration and “despite clear directives from the Supreme Court of the United States and federal laws which prohibited” his execution.
Another offer of reprieve in the last days of Mr. Bourgeois also failed. In a 5-4 decision by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the judges also refused to stay the challenge to the federal enforcement protocol.
Federal law on the death penalty requires executions to be carried out “in the manner prescribed by the law of the state in which the sentence is imposed”. Death row inmates challenged the federal execution protocol with arguments over whether the law requires the federal government to follow the details of protocols required by states.
Both Mr. Bernard and Mr. Bourgeois were sentenced in Texas. State law requires a delay of at least 90 days between announcement and execution, but Mr. Bernard only had 55 days and Mr. Bourgeois only 21 days – a violation of federal law, argued their defense teams.
After the appeals court on Thursday rejected the detainees ‘request in the case, Mr. Bourgeois’ legal team refused to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Shawn Nolan, his lawyer, said the court had recently been unresponsive to disputes over the method of enforcement.
The next federal prisoner on death row is Lisa M. Montgomery, the only woman on death row. His execution is scheduled for January 12. The Trump administration intends to put three inmates to death next month before President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes office. Mr Biden has said he will work to end the federal death penalty.