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A love triangle leaves husband dead

By Matt Bean
Court TV

(Court TV) -- Ed Postma may have died trying to help the woman who killed him.

It was just past midnight on August 20, 2000, when the 32-year-old mechanic pulled into the empty parking lot of the Oasis convenience store in Duette, Florida, a small rural town on Florida's west coast. Postma's wife, Jacquelyn, 30, had called earlier to say she'd run out of gas and was stranded. So Postma, who had worked his way up to a position as a foreman with a local trucking company, got in his battered 1981 Chevrolet pickup and headed out to get her.

But when Postma arrived, the parking lot seemed empty. He saw his wife's Honda, its hood raised in the air, and approached it. "Jackie!" he yelled three times, each time receiving no answer. Then, from behind a nearby gas tank, Jackie Postma's lover, Michael Cordes, 35, emerged wielding a chrome-plated .25-caliber handgun.

Cordes squeezed off four point-blank shots at Postma's head, leveling his target to the ground. Then, from the back of the Honda, Cordes' friend, Todd Martin, jumped out to join in. At Cordes' demand, Martin dragged a filet knife twice across Postma's neck. The two men sped off in the Honda, leaving Ed Postma lying on his back near the gas tank in a pool of blood.

According to prosecutors, the midnight ambush would never have happened without the red-headed woman at the center of the set-up, Jackie Postma, Ed Postma's wife of five years and the mother of one of his children.

She is now charged with masterminding the killing. Prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty.

Postma, who reportedly stood to collect $50,000 from her husband's life insurance policy, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

Jackie Postma initially denied having an affair with Cordes. But during a second interview with police, she admitted that she'd had a long, secret relationship with the trucker. Still, she claimed that she knew nothing about the ambush. But in her next interview, she changed her story.

At the end of September 2000, Postma admitted that she gave Cordes and Martin her car the evening of the murder and called her husband to tell him that she had run out of gas at the Oasis convenience store. She said that Cordes called her later in the evening, telling her it was "all taken care of." Later, she said, he admitted to killing Ed Postma.

Postma never admitted to ordering the death of her husband, however, and she now claims that she only intended for Cordes and Martin to talk to her husband, not kill him.

Martin, 30, who pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder for his role in the slaying in exchange for a lesser charge of attempted murder, could provide damning testimony against Postma.

Cordes and Martin became friends after serving time in the same jailhouse. Four months before the murder, Cordes, a career criminal, was serving a stint on his most recent burglary charge when he met Martin, who was in jail for the first time for marijuana possession.

Martin, who said he wasn't expecting Cordes to kill Postma and that he only slit Postma's throat because he was afraid Cordes would shoot him, received 12 years for his role in the ambush. Postma's charges were not as serious as Cordes' because an autopsy determined that the cuts on Postma's neck were too shallow to have killed the victim.

As Postma's story changed, support from her husband's family eroded. She once helped her mother-in-law Karla Postma hand out green ribbons while police searched for her husband's killer. But that was right after the murder.

"My birthday is this month and the one thing I told my husband I wanted to see was that bitch in jail," Karla Postma told a local paper two months after the murder.

At the time of the murder, Postma was pregnant with her third child, a boy, whom she delivered in prison on April 1, 2001. Paternity testing determined that the child, named David Edwin Postma, was fathered by the late Ed Postma, but witnesses may testify that Jackie Postma made conflicting statements about the identity of the child's father before the murder. Prosecutors say that Postma may have thought the child was Cordes', giving her further motive for the killing.

According to two acquaintances of the defendant, Chrissy Rogers and Edward Turner, the slaying wasn't the first time that Jackie Postma had plotted her husband's demise. The pair told police that during the first week in August, Jackie Postma and Michael Cordes offered them $6,000 for help in killing Ed Postma. Cordes came to Turner's house with a handgun a week later, he told police, and provided the keys to the Postmas' house and Ed Postma's work schedule, saying all of the items had been supplied by Jackie Postma.

Other witnesses expected to testify include friends of Jackie Postma, Martin's girlfriend, and a woman who discovered the body.

The trial is being broadcast live on Court TV.




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