Ohio executes double murderer after court rejects appeal

Sept 13 (Reuters) - Ohio put to death a double murderer on Wednesday, its second execution in 2017 after a three-year hiatus because of legal challenges and difficulties obtaining lethal injection drugs.

Gary Otte, 45, found guilty of shooting both a man and a woman in the head at a suburban Cleveland apartment complex in 1992, died at 10:54 a.m. local time by lethal injection at a prison in Lucasville, Ohio, prison officials said.

Otte's appeal for a stay on the grounds it was unconstitutional to execute inmates younger than 21 at the time of their crimes was denied by the Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday morning. The U.S. Supreme Court previously outlawed executions for those under 18 at the time of their crimes.

Otte was convicted of shooting Robert Wasikowski, 61, on Feb. 12, 1992, and Sharon Kostura, 45, the following day. Otte stole $413 from Wasikowski and $45, a car and a checkbook from Kostura, according to court documents.

Republican Governor John Kasich rejected Otte's clemency request on Sept. 1.

Otte's last meal included a hamburger with Swiss cheese, soda and doughnuts, prison officials said. He spent Tuesday visiting with relatives and did not sleep. Social media showed capital punishment opponents ringing bells outside the prison on Wednesday morning.

Otte breathed heavily for several minutes during the execution and stopped moving at 10:44 a.m., the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

Ohio halted executions in 2015 due to the difficulty in obtaining lethal injection drugs. The following year, the state said it would restart executions using a new three-drug protocol.

Otte also lost an appeal challenging the use of midazolam as a sedative in that protocol. Several U.S. states including Oklahoma and Arizona have used midazolam in executions in which witnesses said inmates appeared to twist in pain on gurneys during the process.

A U.S. appeals court in June lifted a preliminary injunction, clearing the way to resume executions. In July, Ohio put to death Ronald Phillips, 43, who was convicted of raping and killing a 3-year-old child.

Ohio planned to use midazolam followed by rocuronium bromide to halt Otte's breathing and potassium chloride to cause cardiac arrest.

Twenty-five more inmates are slated for execution in Ohio through 2022. 

5 PHOTOS
Controversial Death Penalty Cases
See Gallery
Controversial Death Penalty Cases

Mugshot of Cameron Todd Willingham

(Photo credit: Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

Death row inmate Troy Davis appears in this undated file photo provided by the Georgia Department of Corrections. (Georgia Department of Corrections/MCT via Getty Images)
Anne MacPhail pauses for a moment after learning at 10:55 p.m., on September 21, 2011, that the U.S. Supreme Court had denied a stay of execution for Troy Davis, who was convicted in the 1989 murder of her son Mark MacPhail. Davis was executed shortly after in Jackson, Georgia. (Robin Trimarchi/Columbus Ledger-Enquirer/MCT via Getty Images)

Mugshot of Kelly Renee Gissendaner

(Photo credit: Georgia Department of Corrections)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.