US carries out rare execution during presidential transition

FILE - This Aug. 28, 2020, file photo shows the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Ind. The Justice Department is quietly amending its execution protocols, no longer requiring federal death sentences to be carried out by lethal injection and clearing the way for other methods like firing squads and poison gas. The amended rule, published Friday, Nov. 27, in the Federal Register, allows the U.S. government to conduct executions by lethal injection or use “any other manner prescribed by the law of the state in which the sentence was imposed.” (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

TERRE HAUTE (AP) — The Trump administration has carried out its ninth federal execution of the year in what has been a first series of executions during a presidential lame-duck period in 130 years.

Federal prison officials in Terre Haute on Thursday executed a Texas street-gang member for his role in the 1999 slayings of an Iowa religious couple. The case of 40-year-old Brandon Bernard was a rare execution of a person who was in his teens when his crime was committed.

He was 18 when he and four other teenagers abducted and robbed Todd and Stacie Bagley on their way from a Sunday service in Killeen, Texas. Four more federal executions, including one Friday, are planned in the weeks before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.