Death Row killer executed after begging for firing squad over lethal injection

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A Death Row killer who took part in the brutal slaughter of four people in Oklahoma has been executed.

Gilbert Postelle was given a lethal injection today (February 17) in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary's H Unit.

He’s the second convict to have been executed in Oklahoma in 2022.

Postelle’s lawyers had tried to argue that the execution should be called off because the lethal injection method used to end lives on Death Row carries a "substantial risk of severe pain and suffering" and was unconstitutional, but Judge Stephen Friot ruled that the execution should go ahead.

His decision means that a further two dozen prisoners waiting on Death Row could soon now be executed.

Postelle was one of two condemned men who had begged to be executed by firing squad rather than by the controversial lethal injection method.

"While it may be gruesome to look at, we all agree it will be quicker," Jim Stronski, an attorney acting for the men, told Judge Friot.

According to an Oklahoma Police report, Postelle was one of four men who shot James Alderson, 57, Terry Smith, 56, Donnie Swindle, 49, and Amy Wright, 26, at a southeast Oklahoma City home in 2005 because he blamed them for a motorcycle accident that had left his father with life-changing injuries.

The Oklahoman reported that Postelle had ordered Alderson, Smith, Swindle, and Wright to “get on their knees” before shooting a total of 30 rounds into them with an AK-47 style assault rifle.

He was handed two death sentences for the killings of Alderson and Wright after the prosecution showed that he had chased them as they tried to flee and then shot them from behind.

“In her final moments, Amy Wright was screaming and clawing the ground to escape from Gilbert Postelle,” Assistant Attorney General Julie Pittman told the Clemency appeal board in December.

At his trial, Postelle claimed he didn't remember any of the killings because of his heavy drug use in the days leading up to the attack.

  • Quintin Jones dead: Triple killer executed after pleading for mercy in desperate video

At a clemency hearing he testified via video link: ”I do understand that I'm guilty and I accept that.

“There's nothing more that I know to say to you all than I am truly sorry for what I've done to all these families.”

His attorney, Robert Nance, told the court that Postelle had a very low IQ and had been using methamphetamine regularly since he was 12.

He said that Postelle, now 35, had changed since his arrest, and had been rehabilitated in prison.

Randy Bauman, from the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, said Postelle’s execution was inhumane.

"At age 18, intellectually impaired Gil Postelle did as his father asked him to do," he said.

"He is…maybe…a hair above some of the bare minimums to even be eligible for the death penalty.

"Yet we are planning not only to kill him, but to do it with a method so questionable it warrants a trial in a couple of weeks on whether it can be used."

But statements from the victims’ families urged the authorities to go ahead with the execution.

Swindle's mother, Mary Jo Swindle, said: "We never got to see him after he was murdered because his body was riddled and torn with bullets.

"You may be a changed man, but my son and three others are still dead."

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