Oklahoma death row inmate’s attorneys file emergency petition to commute his sentence, spare his life

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Gilbert Postelle

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Attorneys for a death row inmate are asking the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to grant the inmate clemency, and for Gov. Kevin Stitt to commute his sentence.

Gilbert Ray Postelle is scheduled to be executed Feb. 17, 2022.

His attorneys filed a clemency petition on Tuesday asking the Pardon and Parole Board to recommend to Stitt that he commute Postelle’s sentence to life in prison without parole.

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Gilbert Postelle

Postelle was convicted on four counts of first-degree murder. He was one of four men charged with conspiracy and first-degree murder in the deadly shooting of four people at a Del City mobile home park in 2005.

Postelle was 19 when he killed the four people. He was convicted in 2008, and he was the only one of the four suspects sentenced to death.

Prosecutors said the four suspects believed one of the victims severely injured Postelle’s father in a motorcycle accident, and they went to the trailer park seeking revenge.

His attorneys said in a news release issued Tuesday that he killed the four victims under the direction of his father.

“How do you solve murder with murder,” Kaylei Johnson, Postelle’s 18-year-old daughter, is quoted as saying in the news release. “He has been an inspiration to do better with my life. He has helped me by being there for me and telling me what not to do in life.”

Postelle’s stepmother, Norma Wilder, is also pleading for his life.

“As his mother, I am not asking you to let him go free. I am begging you to have mercy and spare his life from execution,” Wilder is quoted as saying in the news release.

A stay of execution request questioning whether Oklahoma’s execution protocol is constitutional was denied by a federal judge on Oct. 25.

The State of Oklahoma resumed executing death row inmates following a lengthy moratorium on executions.

John Grant
John Grant

John Grant was executed on Oct. 28 for the 1998 murder of Gay Carter, who was the kitchen supervisor at the Dick Conner Correctional Center, where Grant was incarcerated for robbery convictions. He stabbed her with a shank 16 times.

The moratorium was implemented in 2015 after lethal injections using a controversial three-drug cocktail caused two death row inmates to suffer excruciating pain during the execution.

The drug cocktail consists of midazolam, a sedative, vecuronium bromide, a paralytic, and potassium chloride, which stops the heart.

Witnesses to Grant’s execution say he convulsed about two-dozen times and vomited following the injection of midazolam. He continued breathing until after the second drug was administered.

Julius Jones
Julius Jones

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals placed a stay on Oct. 27 on the scheduled executions of both Grant and high-profile inmate Julius Jones. The death row inmates’ legal teams argued to the Court of Appeals that they had an agreement with former Attorney General Mike Hunter that no executions would take place for the time being because of an upcoming trial set for February, which challenges whether Oklahoma’s execution protocol, the three-drug cocktail, is legal.

However, the State of Oklahoma appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the High Court to vacate the stays of execution. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State. Grant was executed two hours later.

Stitt commuted Jones’ death sentence to life in prison without parole on Nov. 18, just hours before he was to be executed.

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