KEY POINTS

  • Trump will have executed a quarter of the country's death row inmates by Jan. 20
  • Brandon Bernard and Alfred Bourgeois will be executed in Terre Haute, Indiana
  • The Justice Department allowed execution by firing squad or poison gas

The Trump administration has ordered the federal execution of five death row inmates this Thursday, just days before President Donald Trump is scheduled to leave the White House.

If the executions go as planned, Trump will be the United States’ most prolific execution president in 130 years, overseeing 13 executions since his administration resumed the death penalty in July after a 17-year hiatus.

Trump will leave the Oval Office having executed nearly a quarter of the country’s federal death-row inmates. 

The executions would begin with 40-year-old Brandon Bernard. He was imprisoned in June 1999 at the age of 18 for his involvement in a robbery plot that led to two murders. 

Bernard, who was 17 when the crime occured, abducted two Iowan youth ministers and drove them to a remote location. He and his accomplices shot, killed and burned the victims, according to The New York Times

Next would be the execution of 56-year-old Alfred Bourgeois. The Louisiana truck driver was on a delivery at Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi in Texas in July 2002 when he repeatedly slammed his 2-year-old daughter’s head into a windshield and dashboard after she accidentally tipped over her potty trainer.   

It was later revealed that he had also sexually molested his daughter. The child was placed on life support following the incident, but later died at a hospital, according to New York Post.  Bourgeois has been on death row since 2004.

Bernard’s and Bourgeois’ executions will take place in Terre Haute, Indiana. So far, the executions this year have been by lethal injection. However, the drugs used to carry out the death penalty are sparse, prompting the Justice Department to allow death by firing squad or poison gas. It is unclear if those methods will be used in the coming executions. 

Attorney General William Barr defended the executions and said the Justice Department is only “upholding” the law. He revealed plans to schedule more before he departs his position, and urged the Biden administration to keep up the executions. 

“I think the way to stop the death penalty is to repeal the death penalty. But if you ask juries to impose and juries impose it, then it should be carried out,” Barr told the Associated Press President Trump President Donald Trump refuses to concede defeat to clear winner Joe Biden. Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB