Gilbert Postelle, Oklahoma
Updated: Thursday, February 17, 2022
Oklahoma executed Gilbert Postelle on Thursday, February 17, 2022. He was pronounced dead at 10:14 am local time, inside the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma. Gilbert was 35 years of age. He was convicted of murdering James “Donnie” Swindle Jr., Amy Wright, Terry Smith, and James Alderson on May 30, 2005, in Del City, Oklahoma. Gilbert spent the last 13 years of his life on death row in Oklahoma.
On May 30, 2005, Memorial Day, James “Donnie” Swindle Jr., Amy Wright, Terry Smith, and James Alderson were all gathered at Donnie’s trailer. The trailer was located next to a salvage yard and alignment shop in Del City, Oklahoma. That same evening, several people were also gathered at the Postelle home, where some were doing drugs.
Brothers, Gilbert and David Postelle, both talked about their belief that Donnie Swindle was responsible for a motorcycle accident that left their father physically and mentally impaired. As the group began talking about target shooting, several individuals left the home in a maroon Dodge Caravan to obtain ammunition and additional weapons.
One of those in the vehicle testified that they heard David and Gilbert discussing going to Donnie’s home and shooting him. The passenger was concerned by what he heard and he asked to be taken home.
On the evening of Memorial Day, several witnesses in the area reported hearing multiple gunshots. A maroon Dodge Caravan was recorded leaving the salvage yard shortly after the shots were fired.
One witness testified that there were four men in the minivan, either Caucasian or Hispanic. Another witness who saw the vehicle and two of the occupants was able to pick David Postelle out of a photo line-up.
Police investigated the shooting and first discovered the bodies of Donnie and Terry. The bodies of Amy and James were found a short distance away.
A man who had been living at the Postelle home for about a month noticed a significant change following the murders. The Postelle family had every television on news stations with video footage of the van leaving the murder scene.
A few days after the murders, the Postelle family purged the home of drug paraphernalia and drugs. They also decided to take the minivan out of state, burn it, and put it in a lake. They buried the license plate and gun parts in the backyard. The houseguest also heard Gilbert talk about and mime killing someone. There were also discussions of creating stories to tell the police to prevent the truth from being revealed.
Randall Wade Byus was with the Postelle family when they went to Donnie’s trailer. He testified that Gilbert carried out the murders and that Gilbert’s brother and father were also present. Randall reached a plea agreement after agreeing to testify against Gilbert. Gilbert received two death sentences and two sentences of life in prison, without the possibility of parole. Gilbert’s brother, David, was sentenced to life in prison. Their father, Earl, was ruled incompetent to stand trial due to the brain injury suffered in the motorcycle accident.
Pray for peace and healing for the families of Donnie Swindle, Amy Wright, Terry Smith, and James Alderson. Pray for strength for the family of Gilbert Postelle.
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