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Christopher Andre Vialva - Federal Execution - September 24, 2020
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Thread: Christopher Andre Vialva - Federal Execution - September 24, 2020

  1. #1
    Administrator Michael's Avatar
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    Christopher Andre Vialva - Federal Execution - September 24, 2020


    Todd and Stacie Bagley


    Summary of Offense:

    In June 2000, a federal jury in Waco, Texas convicted Christopher Vialva and Brandon Bernard of carjacking and the murder of an Iowa couple, Todd and Stacie Bagley, visiting central Texas. Both defendants were sentenced to death. Vialva was 19 years old at the time of his arrest, and Bernard was 18. Four younger teen-agers also pled guilty to federal charges relating to the crime.

    For more on Bernard, see: http://www.cncpunishment.com/forums/...randon+bernard

  2. #2
    Administrator Jan's Avatar
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    On April 17, 2013, Vialva filed an appeal in the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals over the denial of his habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/cir.../ca5/13-70016/

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    Administrator Jan's Avatar
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    The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Vialva a Certificate of Appealability.

    http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions...-70013-CV0.pdf

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    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    On October 20, 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit DENIED Vialva's petition for en banc rehearing.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.a...es\14-8112.htm

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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Vialva's petition for writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis was DENIED.

    Lower Ct: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    Case Nos.: (13-70016)
    Decision Date: August 11, 2014
    Rehearing Denied: October 20, 2014

    Theoretically, Vialva's appeals are now exhausted. Unfortunately, litigation over the federal government's lethal-injection protocol has continued to be bogged down in the District of Columbia District Court since 2006.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/c...16zor_7lho.pdf

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    Sentencing hearing set in 1999 kidnap-murder case

    By TOMMY WITHERSPOON
    The Waco Tribune-Herald

    A federal judge has dismissed claims from two federal death row inmates who questioned the fitness of former U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. to preside over their 2000 trial in Waco. The judge also scheduled a re-sentencing hearing for one of the pair’s co-defendants who is serving a life term.

    U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel threw out a motion from Brandon Bernard and Christopher Vialva to vacate, set aside or correct their death penalties on allegations that Smith was “not functional” because of drinking and “unfit” to preside over their trials.

    Bernard, who was 19 at the time, and Vialva, who was 20, were convicted in Waco’s federal court in June 2000 and sentenced to death in the murders of Todd and Stacie Bagley, of Ottumwa, Iowa.

    Bernard was sentenced to death only in Stacie Bagley’s death, while Vialva was sentenced to death in the murder of both the Bagleys, who were church youth ministers in Iowa.

    Bernard, Vialva and four Killeen teenagers were charged in the June 1999 carjacking of the Bagleys outside a Killeen convenience store. Two of the teens testified against Bernard and Vialva that they plotted to kidnap the couple and drove them around in the trunk of their car while trying to use their ATM cards.

    Trial testimony showed that Stacie Bagley read the Bible to her captors as she and her husband pleaded for their lives. Vialva shot them both and set the car on fire while Stacie Bagley was still alive, according to trial testimony.

    Yeakel scheduled a sentencing hearing to start Feb. 5 in Austin for Tony Sparks, one of the four co-defendants in the case who went to trial with Bernard and Vialva and who was given a mandatory life sentence.

    In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal juvenile offenders could not be subjected to mandatory life terms. Four years later, the court made its ruling retroactive to those already serving time, paving the way for the new sentencing hearing for Sparks.

    Yeakel has set aside three days for the hearing, court officials said.

    Sparks, who was 16 at the time and certified to stand trial as an adult, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting carjacking resulting in death. A 15-year-old who was also certified to stand trial as an adult was sentenced to 5 years, and two 17-year-olds were sentenced to 20 years each.

    Sparks’ attorney, David Sergi, of San Marcos, said Sparks is a German citizen and he will ask the judge to give him “an appropriate” sentence so he can serve his time and move back to Germany, where his father is in the military.

    He said Sparks is serving his sentence in a maximum-security prison in Colorado known as “supermax.”

    “This is one of those really unusual cases where going to supermax helped save his life,” Sergi said. “He needed to get away from all the noise going on in prison so he could focus on himself.”

    Sparks earned his GED in prison and has taken courses in psychology and the Peloponnesian war, Sergi said.

    The 32-page motion from Bernard and Vialva asked Yeakel to vacate the death sentences or to order a hearing “so that evidence may be presented concerning former Judge Smith’s unfitness, and how it affected all his decisions respecting” Bernard and Vialva.

    Smith retired under a cloud in September 2016, ending his 32-year tenure as Waco’s federal judge. He was stripped of hearing new cases for a year and required to go to counseling after the Judicial Council of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found he made “inappropriate and unwanted physical and nonphysical advances” toward a female courthouse staff member in his court chambers in 1998 and lied to investigators about the incident.

    In a sworn statement given to investigators, a former clerk said Smith smelled of alcohol and had the appearance of someone who had been drinking.

    The judicial council renewed its investigation into Smith after complaints surfaced that at least two more women had been subjected to Smith’s unwanted advances in his chambers. His retirement ended the investigation.

    http://www.wacotrib.com/news/courts_...9d56a2334.html

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    Death Row Inmates Alleging Judge Was 'Impaired' at Trials Lose on Appeal

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has turned down the appeals of two death row inmates who argued their convictions should be overturned because their trials were presided over by a disgraced former federal judge whom they allege was “impaired” during their proceedings.

    Walter Smith, who served as a U.S district judge in Waco for 32 years, was punished by the Fifth Circuit in 2015 after it concluded he made unwanted sexual advances against a female court employee in 1998. The employee also alleged that Smith had been drinking before some of his interactions with her, and that Smith’s court clerk had to cancel his hearings because he had “been in the hospital” and was “not functioning.” Smith retired from the bench in 2016, which allowed him to avoid impeachment and keep his lifetime salary.

    In 2000, Smith presided over the trials of Christopher Andre Vialva and Brandon Bernard, who were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for killing Todd and Stacie Bagley on federal property during a carjacking, sentences the Fifth Circuit affirmed on direct appeal in 2003.

    Vialva and Bernard both filed subsequent habeas corpus petitions before a district court in 2017, arguing that Smith was unfit to conduct proceedings in their cases because of his “impairments.” The motions also alleged Smith committed numerous errors during their trial and subsequent habeas proceedings, and attached several other documents to their pleadings, including the Fifth Circuit’s order in Smith’s misconduct proceeding, an excerpt of the deposition from the court employee who alleged misconduct against Smith, and a 2017 article from Texas Lawyer detailing Smith’s misconduct proceedings and his decision to retire.

    A district court judge denied Vialva and Bernard’s successive habeas corpus writs for lack of jurisdiction, noting their merit-based arguments had already been decided in the case, and that their alleged procedural defects were simply an attempt to circumvent the limits Congress placed on successive habeas petitions.

    In its recent decision, the Fifth Circuit panel agreed with the district court, and denied Vialva and Bernard habeas corpus review for a second time.

    “Although they purport to attack the integrity of their prior habeas proceedings, Bernard’s and Vialva’s invocation of defective procedure rests substantially on a merits-based challenge. To begin with, evidence from Judge Smith’s misconduct investigation does not credibly implicate the procedural integrity of Bernard’s and Vialva’s prosecutions or subsequent habeas proceedings,” the Fifth Circuit wrote in a per curiam opinion.

    “Evidence that Judge Smith engaged in unrelated misconduct in 1998 or that he neglected certain recusal requirements during the 2014 misconduct investigation does not raise an inference of defects in the habeas proceedings at issue here,” the court concluded. “The allegations offer no evidence—beyond gross speculation—that Judge Smith was, as Bernard and Vialva repeatedly assert, ‘impaired’ or ‘unfit’ to oversee their 2000 trial and subsequent habeas proceedings.”

    Jared Tyler, a Houston attorney who represents Vialva on appeal, and John Robert Carpenter, a Washington lawyer who represents Bernard on appeal, did not return calls for comment.

    Joseph H. Gay Jr., a Western District of Texas assistant U.S. attorney who opposed Vialva and Bernard’s subsequent habeas petitions, declined to comment.

    https://www.law.com/texaslawyer/2018...20180817155525
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    On November 19, 2018, the Fifth Circuit DENIED Vialva's petition for en banc rehearing.

    https://www.supremecourt.gov/search....c/18-1222.html

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    In today's orders, the United States Supreme Court declined to review Vialva's petition for certiorari.

    Lower Ct: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    Case Numbers: (18-70007)
    Decision Date: September 14, 2018
    Rehearing Denied: November 19, 2018

    https://www.supremecourt.gov/search....c/18-1222.html

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    Executions Scheduled for Two Federal Inmates

    Attorney General William P. Barr today directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions of two federal death-row inmates who were each convicted of murder.

    William Emmett LeCroy raped and murdered Joann Lee Tiesler, a 30-year-old nurse, in 2001. LeCroy had previously served 10 years in federal and state prison for, among other crimes, aggravated assault, burglary, child molestation, and statutory rape. After his release to supervised probation, LeCroy began planning to flee the country. In furtherance of that plan, LeCroy broke into Tiesler’s home in Gilmer County, Georgia. Once she returned home, LeCroy attacked her, bound her hands behind her back, strangled her with an electrical cord, and raped her. Then he slashed her throat with a knife and stabbed her in the back five times. LeCroy then stole Tiesler’s vehicle and drove to the Canadian border, where he was arrested. In March 2004, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia found LeCroy guilty of carjacking resulting in death and unanimously recommended a sentence of death. His conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal, and his requests for collateral relief were rejected by every court that considered them. LeCroy’s execution is scheduled for Sept. 22, 2020.

    Christopher Andre Vialva murdered youth ministers Todd and Stacie Bagley in 1999. While stopping to use a payphone in Killeen, Texas, Todd Bagley agreed to give a ride to Vialva and two of his accomplices. 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. In June 2000, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas found Vialva guilty of, among other offenses, two counts of murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States and unanimously recommended two death sentences. His convictions and sentences were affirmed on appeal, and his requests for collateral relief were rejected by every court that considered them. Vialva’s execution is scheduled for Sept. 24, 2020.

    The executions will take place at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

    https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/execu...ederal-inmates

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