In the aftermath of the tragic death of The Walking Dead stuntman John Bernecker, his girlfriend, Jennifer Cocker, has issued a brief statement that called out the AMC series’ production team for teaming her boyfriend with an “inexperienced actor who doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
Yesterday, the Walking Dead family experienced a second tragedy in a span of less than a week, when the 33-year-old Bernecker died one day after suffering head injuries in a 22-foot accidental fall. This came just five days after Fear the Walking Dead voiceover talent Randy Schell lost his life in a parachuting accident in Houston, as reported by Deadline over the weekend.
As quoted by TMZ in a new report, John Bernecker’s girlfriend, stuntwoman Jennifer Cocker, expressed her disappointment in the production team behind The Walking Dead, accusing them of putting John in an unsafe situation where he was performing a stunt with an untrained actor — Austin Amelio, who plays the role of Negan’s thug Dwight on the AMC show.
“Sets need to be safer. There has to be a prerequisite not to put a super professional stuntman with an inexperienced actor who doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
According to the Daily Mail, Bernecker’s cause of death was blunt force trauma, which he suffered after he lost his balance and fell about 30 feet to the ground during the fight scene with Amelio’s character. While the swelling in his brain had gone down in the aftermath of the accidental fall, it had ultimately gone up again in the hours leading up to his death.
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On the day of the accident, John Bernecker’s girlfriend took to Facebook, calling the circumstances behind it unfair, and pleading that something be done about her boyfriend’s life-threatening condition.
“John deserves to be seen by every neurosurgeon and doctor there is until one of them sees the life we all know he has in him and bring him back to us… THIS ISN’T FAIR,” said Jennifer Cocker on Wednesday.
Citing The Walking Dead assistant director Matthew Goodwin’s statement to police, TMZ wrote that Bernercker missed the safety cushion that was supposed to break his fall by mere inches. As it appears, John wasn’t able to get enough separation from the balcony he plummeted from, and landed on his head and neck, not too far from the cushion. He had reportedly tried to “abort” the fall by using both hands to grab the railing, but to no avail.
Despite the allegations from John Bernecker’s girlfriend, stunt people who talked to TMZ about the matter have claimed that the stunt coordinator for the fight scene was “very experienced and respected,” and that the scene in general looked very safe. Police officials added that Bernecker was so confident that he gave a thumbs-up sign to let the production team know he was all good to shoot.
On the other hand, Austin Amelio reportedly told police that Bernecker had spoken to him before the accident, and said that he was “a little nervous,” as he had never taken a fall from such a height.
[Featured Image by Gene Page/AMC]