Bernecker died on July 13, 2017 while filming the Season 8 episode "Time for After" of The Walking Dead. Bernecker portrayed a Savior who falls over a balcony in The Sanctuary near Dwight, played by Austin Amelio. He fell 22 feet and missed the stunt cushion by inches, resulting in a serious head injury that caused his death shortly afterwards. As a result of the accident, the Coweta County Sheriff's Department investigated (declaring Bernecker's death an accident), OSHA launched an investigation of working conditions, filming of Season 8 went on a temporary hiatus, and the show's press events at the San Diego Comic Con were cancelled.
The episode "Mercy" is dedicated to his memory.