A man convicted of killing two people in back-to-back robberies in 1992 was put to death in Ohio Wednesday morning.
Gary Otte was killed using a combination of three drugs. His official time of death was 10:54am.
Otte breathed heavily for about three minutes after being administered the drug cocktail and then laid still for another eight minutes before a member of the executive team walked in and checked for a pulse. He was pronounced dead two minutes after that.
Otte gave a final statement, in which she said he would like to ‘profess my love for my family’. During the speech, he apologized to the families of the two victims, who were in the viewing area.
He then sang three versus of the gospel hymn ‘The Greatest Thing in All My Life’ and closed with ‘Father Forgive them for they don’t know what they do. Amen.’
The 45-year-old prisoner stayed awake the night before his execution, and refused to eat breakfast. He spent the morning praying with his parents, and gave them one final hug through prison bars before being led to his execution.
Gary Otte is set to be executed Wednesday morning for two murders in 1992
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said Otte was emotional but also in good spirits.
Otte was sentenced to die for the February 12, 1992 killing of Robert Wasikowski and the killing the next day of Sharon Kostura. Both slayings took place in Parma, in suburban Cleveland.
His legal appeals ended about two hours before his scheduled execution when the Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal contending 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.
State Justice William O’Neill dissented on the Ohio Supreme Court decision. The U.S. Supreme Court had already denied Otte’s attempt to delay execution.
JoEllen Smith, a state prisons department spokeswoman, said Otte didn’t sleep overnight, spending his time visiting with his parents and talking to friends and family on the phone. She said he showered early Wednesday, and shortly before 7am was praying with his parents.
Pictured is a hamburger with Swiss cheese and mushrooms. It is one of the items that Otte asked for as part of his last meal
Otte also asked for a slice of banana cream pie and a quart of Heath Bar ice cream
Otte arrived at the prison on Tuesday. His last meal included a mushroom and Swiss cheese hamburger, a quart of Heath Bar ice cream and a slice of banana cream pie.
The execution was the second in Ohio this year, following the use of lethal injection in July on a man convicted of raping and killing his girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter in Akron in 1993. That was the first execution in Ohio in more than three years, a delay caused by difficulties finding drugs to use in capital punishment.
Otte unsuccessfully challenged the use of the first drug in Ohio’s lethal-injection procedure, a sedative called midazolam, which was involved in problematic executions in Arizona and Oklahoma.
Midazolam also has been used in executions without discernible problems, including the execution of Ronald Phillips in Ohio in July.
Otte’s attorneys said midazolam may not render prisoners so deeply unconscious that they avoid suffering serious pain when the last two drugs are administered.
Pictured is one of Otte’s victims, Robert Wasikowski. Otte has blamed his action on his addiction to crack cocaine and says that he has since ‘[taken personal responsibility for my life and became accountable for my future actions’
The state argued there was no evidence that Phillips wasn’t properly anesthetized during his execution.
Otte unsuccessfully argued that Midazolam, one of the three drugs with which he is to be executed, creates an unconstitutional risk of severe harm
In Otte’s criminal case, authorities 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.
The Ohio Parole Board unanimously rejected a request by Otte in February, citing the heinous nature of the killings. Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, also denied Otte clemency.
Otte’s attorneys had argued a life sentence without parole was an appropriate alternative, saying Otte has matured and made efforts to better himself in prison.
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.
The Cuyahoga County prosecutor said Otte still wouldn’t take full responsibility 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 30 filing with the parole board.