Ohio executes man convicted of back-to-back 1992 killings

FILE – This undated file photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows death row inmate Gary Otte, convicted of shooting two people to death in back-to-back robberies in February 1992. Otte execution is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections via AP, File)

A man convicted of killing two people in back-to-back robberies in suburban Cleveland in 1992 has been executed as family members of his victims looked on

LUCASVILLE, Ohio — A man convicted of killing two people in back-to-back robberies in suburban Cleveland in 1992 was executed Wednesday as family members of his victims looked on.

The prison system announced the time of death for Gary Otte as 10:54 a.m. following the administration of three lethal drugs at the Southern Ohio Correctional Faciltiy in Lucasville.

In his final statement, the 45-year-old Otte professed his love for his family, sang a Christian hymn and quoted the Bible. He said, "God is good all the time," and added, "I'm sorry." Then, he sighed deeply and began singing, "The Greatest Thing," with words such as "I want to know you, Lord" and "I want to serve you, Lord." He stopped singing at 10:39.

Otte quoted the Bible with his last words: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they're doing. Amen." The words were derived from a Bible account of Jesus Christ's crucifixion.

Otte gave a thumbs-up sign, and then his stomach rose and fell several times between 10:41 and 10:42. Two members of the state execution team did a consciousness check at 10:42. Otte's stomach continued to rise and fall a couple of more minutes, then he appeared to go still.

Defense attorney Carol Wright said she believes the rising and falling of Otte's chest and tears she saw on his face while the first drug, the sedative midazolam, was being administered indicated that he was suffering from a phenomenon known as air hunger. Those occurrences "indicated to me that he was feeling pain or sensations," said Wright, who tried unsuccessfully at first to leave the room to alert a federal judge about her concerns.

Proper security protocol was followed and the execution was carried out without complication, prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.

"Once (Wright's) identity and intention was verified, she was given permission to exit the room," Smith said.

Otte had unsuccessfully argued Ohio's lethal-injection method put him at risk of suffering serious pain because the midazolam might not render him deeply unconscious. The rising and falling of his chest was similar to reactions in past executions when a different drug was used.

Otte was sentenced to die for the Feb. 12, 1992, killing of Robert Wasikowski and the Feb. 13, 1992, killing of Sharon Kostura.

Witnesses on Wednesday included the daughter and brother of Wasikowski and the sister, brother-in-law and niece of Kostura.

Otte didn't sleep after arriving at the prison at 9:46 a.m. Tuesday and spent his time on the phone with friends and family and visiting with his parents and other relatives.

His legal appeals ended about two hours before his scheduled execution when the Ohio Supreme Court declined to weigh in on his contention that he shouldn't be put to death because of his age at the time of the crime.

Otte was 20 when he killed Wasikowski and Kostura.

Authorities had said he asked to go inside Wasikowski's apartment to use the phone and then shot the 61-year-old and stole about $400. The next day, authorities say, Otte forced his way into the apartment of the 45-year-old Kostura in the same building, shot her and stole $45 and her car keys.

Both the state Parole Board and Republican Gov. John Kasich denied Otte's request for clemency.

Otte's drug addiction, intoxication and depression led to the slayings, and Otte had poor legal assistance at trial, his public defenders said in documents filed with the parole board. They argued that a life sentence without parole was an appropriate alternative.

The Cuyahoga County prosecutor said Otte still wouldn't take full responsibility for his crimes and tried to blame others, including the victims.

The killings weren't spur-of-the-moment decisions by Otte, who lingered in the victims' apartments to rob them and even turned the TV up to block out Kostura's pleas for help, county prosecutor Michael O'Malley said in a January filing with the parole board.

___

Associated Press writer Dan Sewell contributed to this report from Cincinnati.

___

Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.

Related News

Brazil sends 9,000 soldiers to Rio amid security crisis

Feb 14, 2017

Brazilian president issues decree to deploy 9,000 soldiers to Rio de Janeiro's metropolitan area at least until Feb. 22, one week before Carnaval ends, amid a security crisis

Transgender camp teaches kids they're 'normal, not alone'

Aug 7, 2017

Experts say a California day camp that caters to transgender children as young as age 4 is one of the only camps of its kind in the world.

Australian prime minister won't choose between China and US

Mar 24, 2017

Australia's prime minister said his Australia doesn't need to choose between the United States and China, as he announced a new beef export deal with the Chinese

You may also like these

Brazil sends 9,000 soldiers to Rio amid security crisis

Feb 14, 2017

Brazilian president issues decree to deploy 9,000 soldiers to Rio de Janeiro's metropolitan area at least until Feb. 22, one week before Carnaval ends, amid a security crisis

Transgender camp teaches kids they're 'normal, not alone'

Aug 7, 2017

Experts say a California day camp that caters to transgender children as young as age 4 is one of the only camps of its kind in the world.

Australian prime minister won't choose between China and US

Mar 24, 2017

Australia's prime minister said his Australia doesn't need to choose between the United States and China, as he announced a new beef export deal with the Chinese

About Me

Daily World Web took the initiative to utilize the development in cloud and AI technology to create a free, instantaneous and borderless flow of news, the way it should be.

Contact us: sales@dwwcom.com