Parma murderer Gary Otte dies as Ohio executes second death row inmate this year

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The state of Ohio executed Gary Otte on Wednesday morning, more than 25 years after he robbed and murdered two people at

parma-murderer-gary-otte-dies-as-ohio-executes-second-death-row-inmate-this-year photo 1Gary Otte 

LUCASVILLE, Ohio -- The state of Ohio executed Gary Otte on Wednesday morning, more than 25 years after he robbed and murdered two people at a Parma apartment complex.

Otte, 45, of Terre Haute, Indiana, died at 10:54 a.m. by lethal injection in the state's "death house" at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. There appeared to be no complications with the execution.

Otte, strapped to a gurney, breathed heavily for about three minutes. He stopped moving at 10:44 a.m.

He laid still for another eight minutes before a member of the execution team walked in and checked his heartbeat. He was pronounced dead two minutes later.

Otte was convicted in 1992 and sentenced to death for robbing and killing Robert Wasikowski, 61, and Sharon Kostura, 45, in February of that year.

Family members of Wasikowski and Kostura were in the viewing area, watching as Otte took his final breaths. Otte's witnesses were two spiritual advisers, two attorneys and a nurse ready to intervene had complications arose.

In his last statement, Otte said he would like to "profess my love for my family," none of which witnessed his execution. He then said "I'm sorry" to the loved ones of the victims.

He then sang three verses of the gospel hymn "The Greatest Thing" and closed with "Father forgive them, for they don't know what they do. Amen."

Otte spent Tuesday evening visiting with his parents and his attorneys, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said. He did not sleep and spent the rest of the night on the phone, talking with friends.

On Wednesday morning, he again visited with his parents and prayed, Smith said, giving them a hug through prison bars one last time. He then met with his spiritual advisers, again with his attorneys and talked with a friend on the phone. He was also seen singing.

Smith said the meetings were generally emotional but Otte remained in good spirits. Otte took a shower but did not eat the breakfast served to him.

Like many inmates before him, he and his supporters tried their hardest to halt his execution. He waged a series of legal challenges to Ohio's methods of execution and death penalty statute. All were denied, with the latest ruling coming by the Ohio Supreme Court less than two hours before his execution.

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The Ohio Parole Board and Gov. John Kasich rejected his arguments that his life should be spared because he was repeatedly bullied as a child. That bullying led to drug and alcohol use and depression, which led him to commit his crimes, his lawyers argued.

The parole board said in February that Otte had a good upbringing with a loving family.

Meanwhile, opponents of the death penalty implored Gov. John Kasich and the state in the days and hours leading up to Otte's execution to intervene and call it off.

Otte was the 55th person the state has executed since it restarted the death penalty in 1999.

Otte, in a letter to Splinter News, blamed the actions that led to his imprisonment and fate on a crack cocaine addiction.

"I took personal responsibility for my life and became accountable for my future actions," Otte wrote in his letter. "I've become a new person through this life giving application. The fears I once operated from have vanished through my reliance on God for all my support.

"I am no longer defined by my past failures, but by God's love."

He was served his last meal of burgers, fried food, ice cream and donuts on Tuesday evening, after visits by his parents and his attorneys. Around midnight, prison guards removed his cheese sticks, string cheese and ice cream, which he requested for his special meal, Smith said.

Otte is the second death row inmate the state has executed this year. Akron child killer Ronald Phillips died by lethal injection in July.

This story will be updated.

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