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Gilbert Ray Postel, 35, received a lethal injection at an Oklahoma penitentiary in McAlester, and prison authorities declared him dead at 10:14 p.m. It was Oklahoma’s fourth death penalty since October, when the state resumed lethal injections after a nearly seven-year hiatus. .
Pastel, who was lying on a wheelchair with his arms outstretched, gave up his last words and looked several times at the seven witnesses who were in the auditorium next to the penitentiary when the punishment began.
The doctor entered the ward and announced Postel was unconscious at 10:06 after rubbing his sternum, shaking him and seeming to be talking to him.
“Nothing was closed today,” said Shelley Milner, sister of Donnie Swindle, one of four people Pastel was convicted of murder. “His family is grieving, as our families have been grieving for 17 years. Knowing that he will never walk this earth again gives me a little more peace of mind than yesterday.”
During Fr. pardon hearing in December, Pastel did not deny his involvement in the 2005 shootings of James Alderson, Terry Smith, Swindle and Amy Wright. But Postel’s lawyer, Robert Nance, argued that his client suffered from learning difficulties, abandonment of his mother at a young age and began abusing methamphetamine almost daily from the age of 12.
“He’s a different person than he used to be,” Nance told the Pardon and Parole Commission. “I think he needs some forgiveness because he grew up in an environment that was almost exclusively negative.”
Pastel himself also testified at the hearing via video link from prison that he had used metametine for several days before the killings and had little recollection of the crimes.
“I know I’m guilty and I accept it,” he said. “I don’t know anything to tell you all how sorry I really am for what I’ve done with all these families.”
Prosecutors Pastel, his brother David Postel, Brad Postel’s father and another man committed the killings as a result of a “blitz attack” motivated by his belief that Swindle was to blame for a motorcycle accident that left Brad Postel seriously injured. But prosecutors said there was no evidence that Swindle was involved in the crash.
Gilbert Postel received two death sentences for it murders Wright and Alderson after evidence showed he was chasing both when they tried to escape, and shot them from behind with a rifle.
“In the last minutes, Amy Wright was screaming and clinging to the ground to run away from Gilbert Postel,” Assistant Attorney General Julie Pitman told the board.
The council also heard strong testimony from one of the victim’s mothers, Mary Joe Swindle, who said she never saw her son’s body because it was so pierced by bullets. As a result, the board voted 4-1 in favor of refusing Pastel’s pardon.
Oklahoma once had one of the busiest death chambers in the country, but all executions were postponed in 2015 after a failed lethal injection in 2014 and drug mixing that resulted in one prisoner being executed with the wrong drug . Another prisoner was just minutes away from being brought to the death cell before prison officials realized that the same wrong drug had been delivered to punish him.
In 2020, then-Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said the state had provided a source drugsfine-tuned his lethal injection protocols and was ready to reinstate the sentence using a combination of three drugs that includes the sedative midazoloam, vecuronium bromide, a paralytic and potassium chloride that stops the heart.