OK-CADP Responds to Thursday’s Execution of Gilbert Postelle, Archbishop Coakley and A.G. O’Connor also comment

Oklahoma City – Gilbert Ray Postelle suffered from intellectual deficits and mental illness, according to opponents of his death sentence. He had been on death row in McAlester since 2006. Postelle was executed and pronounced dead at 10:14 a.m. on Thursday, February 17. In all, he spent 15 years awaiting the imposition of the Ultimate Sanction.

The following statement can be attributed to Rev. Don Heath, Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (OK-CADP) chair:

“Gilbert Postelle is a sweet man. The guards cried as they took him to the 35-day cell. Only the morally ill execute the mentally ill, which is becoming commonplace in Oklahoma. It diminishes the humanity in all of us.”

The following statement came from Randy Bauman, an OK-CADP Board Member: “Today the State of Oklahoma killed another person suffering from mental deficits; a person unable to make rational decisions as a young kid influenced by a parent. Gil Postelle as an adult deeply regretted what he did in his youth. He still suffered mentally, but was liked by those who got to know him and loved by many; a person now purposefully dead at the hands of the State of Oklahoma with absolutely nothing gained in his death.”

OK-CADP is an organization opposed to the death penalty in all cases.

Paul S. Coakley, archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, has consistently opposed the state government’s resort to executions. In a statement after Postelle’s death, Coakley said, “Please pray that our state’s leaders truly embrace being pro-life and end the death penalty in Oklahoma.”

After the execution, Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor said in a prepared statement sent to CapitolBeatOK.com and other news organizations, “The State’s execution of Gilbert Postelle was carried out with zero complications. … Justice is now served for Amy Wright, James Alderson, Terry Smith, Donnie Swindle, and the people of Oklahoma.”

Disclosure: Patrick B. McGuigan, publisher and founder of CapitolBeatOK.com, contributed to this report. McGuigan has four decades of experience in journalism. A member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, he is also active in the Knights of Columbus — a Catholic organization that is the world’s largest fraternal group. McGuigan is also a dues-paying member of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (OK-CADP).