OHIO (USA): GARY OTTE EXECUTED
September 13, 2017:
Gary Otte, 45, White, was executed. Otte was the 2nd inmate put to death since Ohio ended a 3-year execution hiatus prompted by a lethal injection that raised questions about the drugs being used. (Sources: DPIC, NBC News & Rick Halperin, 13/09/2017)
Outside the prison in Lucasville, anti-execution activists tolled bells to mark his death, which the Associated Press recorded at 10:54 a.m.
The anti-execution activist Sister Helen Prejean also took up Otte's cause, tweeting that he has a low IQ and psychological problems. In a tweet on the eve of the execution, his attorney, Vickie Werneke, said that while Otte had fought vigorously to stop the state from killing him, he was "at peace." Otte's lawyer, supervisory federal public defender Carol Wright, said Otte exhibited "abnormal" chest and stomach movements when he was injected with the execution drug, midazolam, showing signs of struggling for air and what she described as "air hunger."
Wright attempted to leave the witness room to reach a phone to alert a federal judge to possible problems with the execution, but prison officials delayed her exit for several minutes and it took several more minutes to reach the court. By that time, Otte's stomach movements had ceased and the court declined to intervene. Corrections spokesperson, JoEllen Smith, said the prison "followed proper security protocol, and once [Wright's] identity and intention was verified she was given permission to exit the room." Smith said the execution was "carried out in compliance with the execution policy and without complication." Otte was sentenced to die for the Feb. 12, 1992, killing of Robert Wasikowski and the Feb. 13, 1992, killing of Sharon Kostura. His last-ditch appeals included claims that use of the execution sedative midazolam is unconstitutional and that he should have been spared the death penalty because he was under 21 at the time of the crime. But the U.S. Supreme Court and the state's highest court declined to halt the execution.
Otte becomes the 2nd inmate executed this year in Ohio, and the 55th since the state resumed capital punishment in 1999. Otte becomes the 18th inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1460th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977.