U.S. District Judge Alan Albright refused a request to stop the execution of Brandon Bernard on Wednesday.
Bernard was convicted in 2000 for the deaths of youth ministers Todd and Stacie Bagley in Killeen in 1999.
According to prosecutors, Todd Bagley agreed to give a ride to Bernard, Christopher Andre Vialva and another person while stopped to use a payphone in Killeen.
In the victims’ car, Vialva pulled out a gun, forced the Bagleys into the trunk, and drove the vehicle for several hours, stopping at ATMs to withdraw money from the couple’s bank account and trying to pawn Stacie Bagley’s wedding ring.
While locked in the trunk, the couple spoke with their abductors about God and pleaded for their lives.
Vialva eventually parked at a remote site on the Fort Hood, Texas, military reservation, where an accomplice doused the car with lighter fluid as the couple sang and prayed.
Vialva then shot Todd Bagley in the head, killing him instantly, and shot Stacie Bagley in the face, knocking her unconscious and leaving her to die of smoke inhalation after an accomplice set the car on fire.
Vialva was executed in September of 2020.
Attorney John Carpenter asked Judge Albright to stop the execution, saying Bernard had not exhausted his appeals.
The U.S. Attorney countered that during the hearing held on Zoom, saying there were no pending appeals at this time.
Carpenter told the court that was because he was availing his client of all legal avenues before heading to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judge Albright told Carpenter that he did not believe it was within his power to stop the execution without an appeal being filed in the case. He urged Carpenter to take his case to a higher court.