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The Trump administration plans to continue its unprecedented series of post-election federal executions executing a Louisiana trucker who severely abused his 2-year-old daughter for weeks in 2002, then killed her by banging her head against the windows and dash of a truck.
Alfred Bourgeois is scheduled to be executed, despite having what his lawyers claim is an intellectual disability.
Alfred Bourgeois is scheduled to be executed, despite having what his lawyers claim is an intellectual disability. (AP)

Lawyers for Alfred Bourgeois, 56, argue that he has an IQ that places him in the category of intellectually disabled, and they say that should have made him ineligible for the death penalty under federal law.

Bourgeois met with his spiritual adviser on Friday as he tried to accept the possibility of dying, and one of his lawyers was also praying, Shawn Nolan told The Associated Press just hours before the scheduled execution.

“He certainly doesn’t want to die, and it is more difficult for him to understand that the federal government is killing him. But understand that this is bad. “

The lawyer added: “He is praying for redemption.”

Bourgeois devoted himself to drawing in prison, even making covers of members of his legal team. Nolan said he has not been a riot on death row and has a good disciplinary record.

Protester Sylvester Edwards holds up a sign opposing the death penalty across the street from the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Protester Sylvester Edwards holds up a sign opposing the death penalty across the street from the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. (AP)

The last time the number of civilians executed at the federal level was in the double digits in a year was under President Grover Cleveland, with 14 in 1896.

Bourgeois’s lawyers contend that the apparent rush by Trump, a Republican, to carry out the executions ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration of death penalty enemy Joe Biden, a Democrat, has deprived his client of his right to exhaust your legal options.

The Justice Department gave Bourgeois just 21 days notice that he was going to be executed under protocols that cut the required 90-day notice period, Nolan said.

The Terre Haute, Indiana prison complex where federal death row inmates are executed. (AP)

“It’s extraordinary. Speeding up these executions during the pandemic and everything else makes absolutely no sense, ”he said.

Several appeals courts have found that neither the evidence nor criminal law on intellectual disability supports the claims of Bourgeois’ legal team.

Brandon Bernard was executed for the murder of a young couple.
Brandon Bernard was executed for the murder of a young couple. (AP)
Thursday, Brandon Bernard was executed for his role in the 1999 murder of a religious couple from Iowa after he and other teenage gang members kidnapped and robbed Todd and Stacie Bagley in Texas. Bernard, who was 18 at the time of the murders, was a rare execution of a person who was in his late teens when his crime was committed.

Several high-profile figures, including reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, called on Trump to commute Bernard’s sentence to life in prison, citing, among other things, Bernard’s youth at the time and the remorse he has expressed for years. .

In Bourgeois’s case, the crimes stand out as particularly brutal because they involved his young daughter.

According to court documents, he obtained temporary custody of the child, referred to in court documents only as “JG,” following a 2002 paternity lawsuit from a Texas woman. Bourgeois lived in Louisiana with his wife and two children.

Over the next month, Bourgeois whipped the girl with an electrical cord, burned her feet with a cigarette lighter, and hit her on the head with a plastic baseball bat so hard that her head swelled; He then refused to seek medical treatment for her, court documents. say. Prosecutors also said he sexually abused her.

Her potty training allegedly enraged Bourgeois and sometimes forced her to sleep in a potty bath.

It was during a truck trip to Corpus Christi, Texas, that he ended up killing the boy. Again angered by her potty training, he grabbed her by the shoulders inside the truck and slammed her head against the windows and dash four times, court documents say.

Inside America’s Chambers of Death

When the girl lost consciousness, Bourgeois’s wife begged him to seek help and he told her to tell rescuers that she had been injured falling from the truck. He died the next day in a brain injury hospital.

After his 2004 conviction, a judge rejected the complaints stemming from his alleged intellectual disability, noting that he did not receive a diagnosis until after he was sentenced to death.

“Up to that point, Bourgeois had lived a life that, by and large, did not manifest serious intellectual deficiencies,” the court said.

Lawyers argued that the finding was based on misunderstandings about such disabilities. They said Bourgeois had evidence showing that his IQ was around 70, well below average, and that his childhood history supported his claims.

Bourgeois’s lawyers do not argue that he should have been acquitted or that he should not have received a severe penalty, only that he cannot be executed, Nolan said.

The nature of the crime has made it more difficult to win sympathy for Bourgeois, even from some judges who may allow the brutality of what happened to trump execution law, Nolan said.

“But that’s not the way these things are supposed to be done,” he added. “Based on past decisions of the Supreme Court and (federal law), it should not be executed.”


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