7,000 Days

Family members of Alfred Bourgeois, the Louisiana truck driver executed under Trump, say the feds got it wrong.

PHOTO: Family of Alfred Bourgeois

Last year, 56-year-old Alfred Bourgeois of Louisiana was executed at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, for the heinous charge of killing his 2-year-old daughter. As the execution was pushed through, media outlets quickly moved on to the next in line as the Trump administration continued to line them up.

In February of 2021, the family of Alfred Bourgeois released a website in his honor. The family disputes the federal government’s theory of the death of Jakaren Harrison.

Federal prosecutors say Alfred Bourgeois flew into a rage after his daughter tipped over a training potty in the cab of his tractor-trailer. They say the rage consumed him so much that he ruthlessly beat the little girl, resulting in her death.

His family says that isn’t the case.

The Bourgeois family showcases the third version of Bourgeois, one different from the characterization both defense and prosecutorial lawyers presented: that of an innocent father.

“Alfred Bourgeois was labeled a monster, convicted of the torture & sexual abuse of his 2.5-year-old daughter” the website reads. “However, there is, and still remains, scientific forensic evidence that both proved and confirmed Mr. Bourgeois did not commit the crimes he was accused of.”

“In fact, it has been confirmed that the actual diagnosis of his daughter’s death was Hypernatremia, caused by the digestion of too much salt water from a week-old family beach trip.”

Bourgeois’s family says that Harrison’s ingestion of saltwater at the beach, which they say caused Hypernatremia, was the real reason for her death — and that Bourgeois didn’t kill her.

The family says that the only factor implicating Bourgeois in the death of Harrison is the testimony of her older sister, who was 6-years-old at the time. The family goes on to say that no external injuries were found to Harrison, as well as no fractured skull and no blood on the window of Bourgeois’ truck.

Bourgeois’s oldest daughter, Bethany Bourgeois-George, has become one of his most vocal supporters following his execution.

“How could you not hate my father?” she says.

“To be honest, if I read the atrocious descriptions portrayed by the countless news articles, I’d think the same thing. But how many stories have been told, about innocent Black men convicted of crimes they did not commit? It’s not an uncommon thing. In fact, it happens systemically in our communities of color.” — She adds that she believes her father “took the fall” in the crime and says she believes he wasn’t even in his truck at the time of the alleged crime.

“If you believe me, help me reveal the truth. If you don’t believe me, help me discover the truth. Either way, that is what I am in search of.”

Werner Spitz

Following the execution, the Bourgeois family released several public records relating to the capital case including an affidavit written and signed by renowned forensic pathologist Werner Spitz, who has worked on a number of high-profile cases including the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

Here, Spitz questions previous autopsies conducted by Dr. Scott Benton on Harrison, the 2-year-old girl who Bourgeois was charged with killing.

“It is my comment that Dr. Rouse who performed the autopsy specifically describes on page three of her report, at the end of paragraph three, “the external genitalia are those of a normal female child, and there is no evidence of any trauma to the labia or introitus. The hymen is present and appears atraumatic.” Further down, in the same paragraph, the autopsy report continues “on the upper left buttock, there is a hyperpigmented macule, 1.0 x 0.6 cm consistent with a cafe au lait spot.” he wrote.

“As a forensic pathologist, being aware of the type of exposure of the body available to a pathologist performing an autopsy and directly viewing the body, I take exception with Dr. Benton’s observations and consider them questionable,” he added that Dr. Rouse was “in a much better position” to determine if a bruise was present. Benton had written that Harrison had ‘inflammatory changes’ to her genitalia around six weeks before her death.

Spitz goes on to question the previous findings of brain swelling.

“I further find it questionable how mild to moderate cerebral edema without other manifestations of brain swelling would cause cerebellar herniation and explain the death. The brain weighed 1000 grams when weighed at the autopsy,” he says. “This is not a weight that would imply severe brain swelling.”

Spitz adds that the scalp bruises “are relatively small” and says they don’t fit with forceful impact. He finishes the affidavit with his curvy signature and assurance of a “reasonable degree of medical and scientific certainty” in his findings.

The Infractions

Bourgeois-George goes on to detail six infractions — issues the Bourgeois family finds with the case.

Infractions #1 and #2 are entitled “Breach of 6th Amendment Rights and Molestation Charges”

“During my father’s 2002 trial located in Corpus Christi, it was my desire to testify in his defense; however, I was not allowed to do so per the instructions of his legal team,” she said. “In fact, many of the ‘willing’ witnesses who knew my father best were not allowed to testify, even though they were eager to.”

“The “prosecution” commenced by explaining to the jury that the lead witness(es) had not been truth-forward innumerable times in the past. In fact, their stories changed multiple times before the start of the trial. So what would make the testimony of these witnesses relevant now?”

“Forensic evidence was available & present; nevertheless, extremely limited “objections” or “refutes” were made throughout the entire trial. This is not my opinion, as I’m sure you remember, I was not allowed to watch the trial. These are facts based on witness testimonies, all public information, and visible to anyone caring to search.”

Bourgeois-George goes on to claim that there were “multiple instances” where witnesses for the prosecution made claims that were proven false by evidence provided by experts for the defense.

“When speaking to my Dad during his final hours, the particular accusation that bothered him the most was the “rape/molestation” charge.” Bourgeois-George wrote. “He said the thought of an individual actually believing he could do such a thing has been mentally & emotionally plaguing him for 18 years- to the point where he thought about committing suicide.”

Linked to the second infraction is a copy of an appeal filed in the 5th circuit of appeals.

PHOTO: Family of Alfred Bourgeois

Infraction #3 is labeled “consumption of urine”.

“If you remember correctly, I stated that I was approached by a very close family member who shared horrific descriptions of their personal experiences with my father, one of them being that my father “forced” my 2-year-old sister to drink his urine.” Bourgeois-George writes. “The mere thought of such a vulgar & inhumane act led me to abhor my father’s memory for a total of 5 years.”

Bourgeois-George adds “It was stated by “one” witness that my father was in the back of the truck at the time of the ostensible act. But, how can this witness claim to see my father forcing my little sister to drink his urine if the witness was in the front seat, driving the 18-wheeler truck at 55mph along the highway? Remember, this is not some large SUV, but rather an enormous Rig pulling an even larger load. There is no clear line of sight from the front of the truck to the back.”

Bourgeois-George says that, in addition to the claims she says are false, two witnesses contradicted each other with testimony regarding the urine.

“Witness 1 stated that my father urinated into a plastic jug numerous times in front of my little sisters. However, witness 2 stated she only saw it happen once.” Bourgeois-George said. “It was stated during testimony by Witness 1 that the jug used was a Hawaiian Punch bottle that contained a green liquid. At trial, a photo was presented showing the jug containing the green liquid. If there was urine inside the jug, how could it still be green?”

“Either way, there was no scientific evidence to prove either side, and it is at best- hearsay,” she concludes.

In the sixth and final infraction, Bourgeois-George lays out a final claim for her father’s innocence. The section is titled “Grounds for Capital Punishment / Government Officials”.

“I would first like to state that there have been numerous claims that my father suffered from an intellectual disability,” she says. “To be clear, my father was very intelligent- intelligent enough for a young black male to bring in a salary of almost $200k per year without the presence of a college degree.”

She adds that Alfred was “intelligent enough to teach his children the basic principles of financial intelligence” as well as being able to become a police officer and truck driver.

Bourgeois goes on to slam the Trump administration, which set a record for lame-duck federal executions, in her father’s death.

“My father petitioned the President of the United States to exercise his authority under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution to grant him a ninety-day reprieve to permit full and fair investigation, presentation, and supplementation of his clemency claim to the Attorney General and to the President,” Bourgeois-George says.

“My father also petitioned the President to commute his sentence of death. None of these petitions were heard and efforts were of no avail. By Constitutional law, the government should have granted him a ninety-day reprieve.”

A final paragraph on the homepage of the website offers a final nail in the coffin in an attempt to send the family’s innocence claims home.

“Mr. Alfred Bourgeois had no voice and unjustly spent 18 years OR 6,570 days of his life only to be executed for a crime legal evidence confirmed he did not commit,” the site reads. “He was wrongfully executed without a fair trial because the love of power took precedence over the love of justice. It is our wish to bring global awareness to the continued needed changes of judicial civility.”

7,000 Days

The website closes out with a handwritten poem, authored by Bourgeois-George herself.

7,000 Days

How do you breathe? How do you smile?
How do you turn back a history engulfed in beguile?
A tale, A lie -Told to the world
A precarious oyster unproducing of pearls
Societal problems appear innumerable & vast
Capitalism, Prejudice, Sexism, surpassed
Preparing for battle in an unjust fight
Chimeras despondent, as life loses sight
Seeking escape, some fill their livers with liquor and ale
Numbing their thoughts and anxieties to prevail
What if there was no liquor, no family, no relief
You would now be house a box with no accessible key
Presumptions come easy thinking about what you would do
But have you unbiasedly taken the time to imagine if it happened to you?
Imagine having a child you love without end
The child loses her life and you’re blamed for the sin
Kismets and serendipities turn to foes filled with plight
Becoming a Martyr in life sacrificed to death overnight
Monster and Animal is what you’re called by the world
When you’re single mission alone was to provide a good life for your baby girl

For 7,000 days, you’re alone with your thoughts surrounded by 4 walls
Planning out solutions, trying to make sense of it all
Praying to hear the voice of someone who cares
But for 18.5 years, no one was there.
How would you cope, knowing your conviction was based on a lie?
How would you cope, knowing the country you were born in, now wanted you to die?
How would you cope knowing you now only exist?
Knowing the world hears only one side; the truth always missed
How would you cope knowing your name was symbolic of all things vile?
Worst, at the end of the day, your efforts weren’t effective in protecting your child.
Thinking about what could have been done to change a tragic past
Will your life ever again have meaning or will the pain eternally last?
If you have other kids, how are they doing?
Being encaged without contact- one can only assume.
Isolated for 23 hours per day, all you feel is defeat
For 7000 days, you no longer have a choice in the food that you eat.
Your bedtime is determined by the rules of others
Even after her sudden death, you weren’t allowed to see your mother
You begin to wonder if your death would be an easier escape
Something has to work to ease the heartbreak
Sustained on a life ambiguous to logic & reason
Almost 7000 days go by with the passing of seasons
And still, you remain- encaged in your box
No holidays! No family! Only time that now mocks!

Have you imagined the curse of a life in captivity?
An innocent soul, never given the chance to become all they can be
Celebrated viciously in death by all too blind to see.
What a beautiful tragedy to finally be free.

The website released by the Bourgeois family in its’ entirety can be viewed here.

The family facebook page can also be viewed here.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store