03 March 2022 :
Gilbert Postelle, 35, White, was executed.
The state of Oklahoma on Thursday executed Gilbert Postelle, 35, a man with an IQ that approaches an intellectual disability who suffered from neglect and drug addiction as a child. Postelle is the 4th person killed by the state in recent months amid a lawsuit over whether Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol is unconstitutionally cruel. Postelle was a plaintiff in that lawsuit, which is set to go to trial in less than 2 weeks. Postelle was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Amy Wright, James Alderson, Donnie Swindle and Terry Smith. He said the four people were responsible for a motorcycle crash that badly injured Postelle's father. He was handed two death sentences for the killings of Wright and Alderson after evidence showed he chased the two as they were trying to flee and then shot them from behind. The death row inmate's brother, David Postelle, and father, Brad Postelle, were involved in the murders. Postelle's brother was sentenced to life in prison, and their father was declared incompetent to stand trial because of a brain injury suffered in the crash. He was 18 years old at the time of the crime, addicted to methamphetamine and acting on his father’s directions. After the crime, Postelle took 2 IQ tests and received scores in the mid-to-high 70s, indicative of limited intellectual functioning. If adjusted for what’s known as the “Flynn effect,” his scores would be considerably lower. Postelle was also evaluated by a clinical psychologist, who diagnosed him with major depressive disorder with psychotic features and found that he showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and possible schizophrenia. Despite being the youngest participant in the crime — barely old enough to be legally eligible for the death penalty — Gilbert Postelle was sentenced to death.
Postelle becomes the 2nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Oklahoma and the 116th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1990. Oklahoma trails only Texas (573) since the US Supreme Court decided on July 2, 1976 that executions could resume after a 4-year hiatus. Postelle becomes the 3rd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1,543rd overall since the nation resumed executions on january 17, 1977.