A man who killed a religious couple visiting Texas from Iowa was executed Thursday. Christophere Vialva, 40, was the first Black inmate put to death as part of the Trump administration’s resumption of federal executions after a 17-year pause, the Associated Press reports. Vialva, received a lethal injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, In. Vialva asked God to comfort the families of the couple he had killed in 1999, saying, “Father … heal their hearts with grace and love.” After robbing and placing Todd and Stacie Bagley in the trunk of their car, the then-19-year-old Vialva shot them in the head and burned their bodies in the car.
Of the 56 inmates on federal death row, 26 — or nearly half — are Black; 22 are white, seven are Latino, and there is one Asian. on federal death row. Black people make up only about 13 percent of the population. Vialva was the seventh federal execution since July and the second this week. Five of the first six were white, a move critics argue was a political calculation to avoid uproar. The sixth was Navajo.