The US government has executed Christopher Vialva, 40, who had killed a religious couple while visiting Texas in 1999.
Vialva was executed by lethal injection on Thursday, September 24, and was the first black federal inmate to be put to death this year. Vialva was pronounced dead at around 6.42 pm EDT at the Federal Correction Institution located in Terre Haute in Indiana, WTWO reports.
He became the seventh person to be executed at the federal prison this year. Vialva had expressed a lot of regret for his crimes in a video statement that was released by his lawyers on Thursday, September 24. Vialva shared, “I committed a grave wrong when I was a lost kid and took two precious lives from this world.”
“Every day, I wish I could right this wrong,” he added. While in the death chamber, Vialva’s final statement was a prayer for his victims’ families and his final words were, “I am ready, Father.” He had been sentenced to death for shooting Todd Bagley in the head close by near Ft Hood, Texas, in 1999, and was 19 at the time of the incident.
According to Indiana Public Media, during Vialva’s trial which occurred in 2000, the court revealed that the then-teenager had also killed Bagley’s wife Stacie and then burned the bodies in the couple’s car. Court records revealed that the Bagley’s had prayed for their attackers and had begged for mercy.
WTWO states that Vialva and two other teenagers had asked the couple for a ride while driving home from a church service. Vialva then pulled a gun on the couple while the three teens robbed them. They then locked the couple inside their trunk.
It is reported that the couple sang “Jesus Loves Us” before Vialva shot them and then burned them in their car. It is believed that one of Vialva’s accomplices, Brandon Bernard is also on death row at the federal penitentiary.
We had earlier reported that Vialva’s mother, Lisa Brown shared, “The only thing my son has said is that he’s deeply remorseful for the pain he’s caused to the family, and me with his actions that day.” She had also hoped that POTUS Donald Trump would consider pardoning her son.
Ever since he was imprisoned, Vialva became a Messianic Jew and then spent around two years trying to convince staff to let him conduct weekly services. He is now a regular minister to his fellow prisoners. While speaking to The Intercept via email, Vialva said, “They brought me out of my cell and took me to the Unit Team office, where the Warden was waiting. I sat down at the table. There was a piece of paper in front of me. The Warden then tells me that I have been scheduled for execution September 24.”
“I spent the rest of the night thinking about my mother’s heartbreaking, and what this was going to do to her,” Vialva continued.
During an anti-death penalty rally which took place on Thursday morning across from the federal prison, Brown told reporters, “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.”