Ohio executes man convicted of killing two in back-to-back robberies

LUCASVILLE, Ohio — An Ohio man was executed Wednesday morning for killing two people in back-to-back robberies in 1992. 

Death row prisoner Gary Otte, 45, was put to death at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville with a lethal combination of three drugs.

The prison system announced the time of death as 10:54 a.m. A prison spokeswoman said he didn’t sleep overnight, spending his last hours visiting with his parents and calling friends and family.

In his final statement, Otte professed his love for his family and said: “God is good all the time.” He said: “I’m sorry,” then sighed deeply. He sang a religious song, with words such as “I want to know you Lord” and “I want to serve you Lord.” He stopped singing at 10:39.

Otte then spoke his last words, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they’re doing. Amen.”

His stomach rose and fell several times between 10:41 and 10:42. Two guards did a consciousness check at 10:42. Otte’s stomach continued to rise and fall a couple more minutes, then appeared to go still. 

Otte was sentenced to die for the Feb. 12, 1992, killing of Robert Wasikowski and the killing the next day of Sharon Kostura. Both slayings took place in Parma, in suburban Cleveland. The state planned to put the 45-year-old Otte to death at 10 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville with a lethal combination of three drugs.

About two hours before his scheduled execution, 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…

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