Wed. noon: Ohio executes man convicted of back-to-back killings

LUCASVILLE, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man convicted of killing two people in back-to-back robberies in suburban Cleveland in 1992 was executed this morning.

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, 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. He sang “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 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 Feb. 13, 1992, killing of Sharon Kostura. Both slayings took place in Parma in suburban Cleveland.

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

The execution was the second in Ohio this year, following the use of lethal injection in July on a man who raped and killed his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter in Akron in 1993.