Brandon Bernard, who was 18 when he took part in a 1999 double murder in Texas, was killed by lethal injection at a federal prison Thursday, despite eleventh-hour attempts for court intervention.
The case drew renewed interest in recent weeks and sparked debate about whether the death penalty is a necessary punishment for someone who was barely a legal adult at the time of the crime. Bernard, who was 40 when he was executed, was the youngest person, based on his age when the offense occurred, in nearly seven decades to be put to death by the federal government
In the moments before his death, a calm Bernard spoke directly to the family of the couple he killed. "I'm sorry," he said. "That's the only words that I can say that completely capture how I feel now and how I felt that day."
The Supreme Court denied a request for an emergency stay Thursday night, and Bernard was pronounced dead at 9:27 p.m.