Oklahoma executed Gilbert Ray Postelle, 35, Thursday morning for his role in a 2005 quadruple murder at an Oklahoma City trailer park.
The execution is the state’s fourth since October and comes just over a week before the start of a federal trial in a lawsuit accusing Oklahoma of using unconstitutionally cruel lethal injection drugs during the executions.
Oklahoma previously had a six-year moratorium on executions after a series of botched killings, before resuming the practice last year.
Postelle admitted his role in the murders of James Alderson, Terry Smith, Donnie Swindle and Amy Wright in 2005. When he was 18, Postelle, under the guidance of his father Brad, helped attack the group, believing Swindle had injured Brad in a motorcycle accident.
“I understand that I am guilty and I accept it,” he said at a December pardon hearing, where his request for a stay was denied. “I don’t know anything more to tell you that I’m so sorry for what I did to all those families.”
Postelle shot Wright and Alderson in the back with a rifle as they fled, and Swindle’s mother said she could not see her son’s body as it had been badly damaged by the balls.
Justice advocates condemned the execution and argued the state should not have killed Postelle, who had a learning disability, was abandoned by his mother as a child and began abusing him daily. methamphetamine in adolescence.
“Only the mentally ill execute the mentally ill, which is becoming commonplace in Oklahoma,” the Reverend Don Heath, chairman of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, said in a statement. “It diminishes the humanity in all of us.”
The execution is the latest death row controversy in the state, which has executed the most people per capita in modern US history.
Starting in 2014, the state botched three executions in a short period of time, prompting a global reassessment of the death penalty. At least temporarily. In April 2014, it took 17 attempts for executioners to insert an IV line into Clayton Lockett, who began moaning, moaning and trying to speak when he was supposedly unconscious. Witnesses were brought in and a curtain was drawn over the death chamber, where Lockett died of a heart attack. A 2015 autopsy revealed that he was accidentally given the wrong execution drug.
That same year, Charles Warner told onlookers “my body is on fire” during his January execution, who mistakenly used the same bad drug, potassium acetate, that killed Lockett.
In September, Oklahoma was about to spoil a third murder, that of Richard Glossip, before then-Governor Mary Fallin called off the execution at least a minute after learning he too was about to be injected with the wrong poison. Glossip came within two hours of death.
The state resumed executions last fall with the murder of John Marion Grant, who grew up in extreme poverty and struggled with mental health issues.
The 60-year-old writhed and vomited for minutes before dying in what critics say amounted to ‘torture’. Oklahoma State said Grant died without complications and all safety protocols were properly followed during his execution.
This is breaking news and will be updated with new information..
The Independent Gt