Death Row

Police arrested Christopher Vialva and Brandon Bernard in June 1999. This photo was on the front page of the June 25, 1999, edition of the Killeen Daily Herald.

A Killeen man convicted of the 1999 slaying of a married couple at Fort Hood is set to be executed in Indiana Thursday.

Christopher Andre Vialva, who police say murdered Todd and Stacie Bagley on June 21, 1999, has been imprisoned at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Police said at the time that the Bagleys were youth pastors visiting Killeen for a church revival at Grace Christian Center.

After carjacking the Bagleys, Vialva and another accomplice put the couple in the trunk of their car and drove for several hours, withdrawing money from ATMs and attempting to pawn Stacie Bagley’s wedding band.

At a remote training area at Fort Hood near what was then Quarry Road, police said Vialva shot Todd Bagley in the head and Stacie Bagley in the face as an accomplice doused the vehicle with gasoline.

Todd Bagley died instantly, and Stacie Bagley died of smoke inhalation after the vehicle was set ablaze, police said at the time.

Two Nolanville police officers spotted the column of smoke from the vehicle fire around 8:30 p.m. that night and found the vehicle about two miles north on Quarry Road.

Approximately 150 yards from the burning vehicle, Nolanville police arrested Vialva, Brandon Bernard and two other accomplices, police said at the time.

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, according to the release.

Bernard and Vialva were each charged with carjacking and aiding and abetting in the same offense, conspiracy to commit murder, and the murders of Todd and Stacie Bagley, as well as aiding and abetting in the murders. The other teens were given shorter sentences for their involvement.

Tony Sparks, who was 16 at the time of the crime, participated in the carjacking, but was taken home before the murders. He was initially given a sentence of life in prison, but it was shortened in March 2018.

Sparks’ new sentence was 35 years in prison, followed by a five-year supervised release term. He has already served close to 21 years.

Terry Terrell Brown and Christopher Michael Lewis, both 17 at the time, were given 20-year prison terms.

Gregory Hardin Lynch, 15 at the time, served a five-year sentence for his part in providing the weapon used in the murders.

Bernard was also sentenced to death and his execution date has not been set.

Over previous 56 years, before the Trump administration’s reboot of executions this year, the federal government had executed just three people — all in the early 2000s. Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was among them.

The U.S. government, resuming executions after a 17-year hiatus, has put six federal prisoners to death in 2020. States execute the vast majority of death row inmates; federal authorities have only put nine prisoners to death since capital punishment was reinstated.

Vialva would be the first African American on federal death row to be put to death in the series of federal executions this year.

Critics say the Justice Department’s resumption of federal executions this year is a cynical bid to help Donald Trump claim the mantel of law-and-order candidate leading up to Election Day. Supporters say Trump is bringing long-overdue justice to victims and their families.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(3) comments

cz144

THE CRIME WAS HERE IN KILLEEN AND THE RESULTS SHOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN 21YEARS OF ROOM AND BOARD AND MEDICAL AND ALL THE LEGAL EAGLES FILEING PAPERS AND DRAWING LOTS OF YOUR TAX PAYER MONEY.NEXT NEED TO TURN OUT ALL THE LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLS WITH INVITES TO THE PUBLIC FOR A PUBLIC HANGING.SO ALL CAN SEE FIRST HAND HOW YOU PAY FOR DOING THE CRIME.---COST FEW DOLLARS FOR THE PLATFORM AND 10 TO 15 BUCKS FOR THE ROPE.----TODAY YOU READ ABOUT THE CRIME 20 YEARS LATER READ ABOUT BEING PUT TO DEATH THAN LATER READ SOME LAWYER FILEING FOR EXTENSION THAT LATER NOW TURNED INTO LIFE SENTANCE.

Chick

It should not have taken them 21 years to file out justice to this murderer.

jcbutler

In todays paper Killeen man set to be executed in Indiana today for the double murder at Fort Hood in 1999. On A3 Execution par 19 you claimed “Vialva would be the first African American om federal death row to be put to death” That is partially not truthful, his mother is in fact White! Hope you are not trying to start race riots in Killeen!

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