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Subject: Christopher Andre Vialva, Executed for the murder of 2 ministers

Terre Haute, Ind.
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Date Posted: Friday, September 25, 12:02:01pm


U.S. Executes Inmate Who Murdered Two Youth Ministers

Christopher Andre Vialva, 40, was the seventh federal inmate and the first Black man put to death since federal executions resumed in July.

By Michael Levenson
Sept. 24, 2020

A former Texas man convicted of murdering two youth ministers when he was 19 was executed on Thursday, the seventh federal inmate and the first Black man put to death since Attorney General William P. Barr announced the resumption of federal executions last year.

The inmate, Christopher Andre Vialva, 40, had been convicted in 2000 of carjacking and murdering the couple, Todd and Stacie Bagley, who were visiting Texas from Iowa and had just attended Sunday services, the Justice Department said.

Mr. Vialva was executed by lethal injection and pronounced dead at 6:46 p.m. at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., according to the Bureau of Prisons. Before he was executed, he said a prayer for the Bagleys’ relatives, asking God to “take away the pain and hatred in their hearts,” according to his lawyer, Susan M. Otto.

Several of the Bagleys’ family members and loved ones witnessed the execution, Kerri Kupec, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said. “More than two decades after Christopher Andre Vialva brutally ended the lives of Todd and Stacie Bagley, justice has been served,” she said.

Hours earlier, the Supreme Court had denied Mr. Vialva’s request for a stay of execution. He had also asked President Trump to commute his sentence to life in prison.

Mr. Vialva was the first federal inmate executed for crimes committed as a teenager in more than 70 years, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit group that studies capital punishment.

His execution followed the executions of three federal inmates in July, two in August and one on Tuesday, when William Emmett LeCroy Jr., 50, was put to death for robbing, raping and murdering a 30-year-old nurse in Georgia in 2001.

The federal government has not executed this many people in a single year since before World War II, according to Robert Dunham, the Death Penalty Information Center’s executive director. But the pace has quickened since Mr. Barr announced in July 2019 that he was lifting what had essentially been a moratorium on the federal death penalty since 2003.

Mr. Barr also issued a protocol replacing a three-drug procedure previously used in federal executions with a single drug, pentobarbital, that was widely available. The drug cocktail had fallen out of favor because of botched executions that prompted a number of lawsuits.

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