TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Trump administration continued its string of post-election executions on Friday by killing a Louisiana truck driver who badly abused his 2-year-old daughter for weeks in 2002, and then killing her by her head hit a truck window and dashboard.
Alfred Bourgeois, 56, was pronounced dead at 8:21 p.m. Eastern Standard Time after receiving a fatal injection in Terre Haute Federal Prison.
His lawyers argued that Bourgeois had an IQ that placed him in the mentally handicapped category and said that should have made him unfit for the death penalty under federal law. Victor Abreu said it was “shameful” to execute his client “without adequate consideration of his intellectual disability”.
In his last words, Bourgeois did not apologize and instead adopted a deeply defiant tone. He insisted that he neither kill nor sexually abuse his little girl: “I ask God to forgive all those who planned and planned against me and planted false evidence.” And he added, “I did not commit this crime.”
Bourgeois was the 10th federal death row inmate killed since federal executions resumed under President Donald Trump in July after a 17-year hiatus. He was the second federal prisoner to be executed this week. Three more executions are planned for January.
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As the fatal injection of pentobarbital flowed through the infusions in both arms, Bourgeois cocked his head to one side and looked at his spiritual advisor, who was standing in the corner of the death chamber, clutching a small Bible. Bourgeois gave him a thumbs up sign and his spiritual advisor raised his thumb in response.
The last time federal civilians executed in a year were in double digits was under President Grover Cleveland, at 14 in 1896.
The string of executions under Trump since Election Day, the first in late November, also marks the first time in more than 130 years that federal executions have occurred during a lame duck era.
Bourgeois lawyers claim that Trump’s apparent rush to initiate executions prior to the inauguration of death penalty enemy Joe Biden on Jan. 20 has deprived her client of the right to pursue his legal rights.
The Justice Department gave Bourgeois just 21 days notice that he should be executed under protocols that shortened the 90-day notice required, said Shawn Nolan, one of his lawyers.
“It’s remarkable. Hastening those executions during the pandemic and everything else makes absolutely no sense,” he said.
Several appellate courts have concluded that neither evidence nor criminal law relating to intellectual disability supports the claims made by the Bourgeois legal team.
On Thursday, Brandon Bernard was killed for his part in the 1999 murder of a religious couple from Iowa after he and other gang youth 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 teens when his crime was committed.
In Bourgeois’ case, the crimes stand out as particularly brutal because they concerned his young daughter.
According to court records, following a paternity lawsuit filed by a Texas woman in 2002, he was granted temporary custody of the child, referred to only as “JG” in court records. Bourgeois lived in Louisiana with his wife and their two children.
Over the next month, Bourgeois whipped the girl with a power cord, burned her feet with a cigarette lighter, and hit her head so hard with a plastic baseball bat that her head swelled – and then refused to accept medical treatment for her look for documents say. Prosecutors also said he sexually abused her.
Her toilet training infuriated Bourgeois, and he sometimes forced her to sleep in a training toilet.
He killed the toddler during a truck run to Corpus Christi, Texas. Annoyed again by her toilet training, he grabbed her shoulders in the truck and hit her head four times against the windows and dashboard, according to court records.
When the girl passed out, Bourgeois’ wife asked him for help and he told her to tell first responders that she was injured when she fell from the truck. She died of brain injuries in a hospital the next day.
Following his 2004 conviction, a judge denied claims based on his alleged intellectual disability.
FILE – This Aug 28, 2020 file photo shows the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Trump administration plans to continue its unprecedented streak of post-election executions on Friday, December 11, by killing Alfred Bourgeois. A Louisiana truck driver who severely abused his 2-year-old daughter for weeks in 2002, and then killed her by banging her head on the window and dashboard of a truck. (AP Photo / Michael Conroy, File)
Alfred Bourgeois was shown in this photo dated June 27, 2020, courtesy of the Nueces County Sheriff’s Office in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Trump administration plans to continue its unprecedented streak of post-election executions on Friday, December 11, 2020, by Bourgeois, a Louisiana truck driver who severely abused and subsequently killed his 2-year-old daughter for weeks in 2002, she is killed by banging her head against the windows and dashboard of a truck. (Nueces County Sheriff’s Office via AP)