As Catholics continue to hold prayer vigils for those on death row, the past two days have seen the execution of two inmates who were sentenced to death by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Alfred Bourgeois, 56, was pronounced dead at 8:21 p.m. Eastern time after receiving a lethal injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, Associated Press reported. Yesterday, Brandon Bernard, 40, was executed in Terre Haute as well, after being convicted of murdering two youth ministers at Fort Hood in Texas in 1999.
Bourgeois was found guilty of abusing, torturing, and murdering his 2-year-old daughter at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in 2002. In his final words, he pleaded not guilty, saying, “I ask God to forgive all those who plotted and schemed against me, and planted false evidence … I did not commit this crime.”
Bourgeois’ lawyers claimed that he was intellectually disabled, which should make him ineligible for the death penalty under federal law.
A virtual prayer vigil for Bourgeois was held from 2-3 p.m hosted by The Catholic Mobilizing Network, which aims to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice. Prayer vigils are also scheduled for future executions in January. Currently, Lisa Montgomery, Cory Johnson, and Dustin Higgs are scheduled to be executed, on Jan. 12, Jan. 14, and Jan. 15, respectively.
On July 14, 2020 the federal government restarted the practice of capital punishment following a 17-year hiatus from executions, the Catholic Mobilizing Network explains. Since then, the Department of Justice has taken the lives of ten people, more than doubling the total number of executions administered by the government in the 57 years prior.
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