Mother of death row inmate from Killeen set for execution says son is ‘deeply remorseful’

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The mother of a man set to be executed Thursday spoke on behalf of him saying he is deeply sorry and is a changed man.

Barring any last minute legal maneuvers, Christopher Vialva will be the seventh federal prisoner executed this year after the Trump administration ended a 17-year hiatus in federal executions. Vialva was convicted in 2000 for the killing of Iowan couple Todd and Stacie Bagley in Killeen, Texas. He was 19 at the time.

His mother, Lisa Brown, spoke directly to the victims’ family during a press conference near the federal prison in Terre Haute.

“I am so sorry for your loss,” she said. “I’ve never been able to tell you that because I was told I could not have access to you. My son wants you to know that he is deeply remorseful for the pain that he has caused you and the other members of the family for your loss.”

Brown went on to say that four of the six involved have since been released from prison; however, her son and one other person, Brandon Bernard are still on death row.

“They were the only ones old enough at the time of the crime to face the death penalty,” she noted. “And I believe that there is a lot of injustice in his case, and the system refused to acknowledge it.

Brown said that every criminal case is different.

“You can’t just put a arbitrary standard against them all” she said. “And what they failed to even calculate into the process is that there is an ability to be redeemed and rehabilitated.”

She said that while rehabilitation might not be possible for all offenders, her son, who is now 40, is “a new man.”

“In his own words, he is changed and he is redeemed,” she said. “And I believe that with all my heart. And that’s why I am able to let him go today.”

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