Killer asks Ohio Supreme Court to delay Wednesday executionSeptember 13, 2017 12:13am

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A condemned killer of two people asked the state's highest court Tuesday to delay his upcoming execution so he can argue he was too young at the time of his crimes to be put to death.

Attorneys for Gary Otte want the court to follow the ruling of a Kentucky court last month that found the death penalty unconstitutional for people who were under 21 at the time they committed their crimes.

Otte, now 45, was 20 when he killed Robert Wasikowski and Sharon Kostura in Parma, in suburban Cleveland, in 1992. His execution is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

"The current scientific understanding of adolescent development underscores why their moral culpability is reduced making them categorically exempt from the death penalty," his attorneys argued.

A message was left with Cuyahoga County prosecutors, who are expected to oppose the request. The court didn't indicate when it would rule, though an early Wednesday decision was likely.

The last-ditch request to the Ohio Supreme Court came a few hours after a lower court rejected the appeal. Otte's argument can't be raised under Ohio law or current federal court rulings, the 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals said.

The Kentucky court ruling isn't binding on Ohio courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court hasn't addressed the issue of whether being under 21 at the time of a crime precludes people from execution, the appeals court said.

Late Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a last-minute request from Otte to delay the execution.

The state, meanwhile, continued preparations for the execution. Otte arrived at the state death house in southern Ohio on Tuesday morning, prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.

Inmates are typically transported to the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility from death row — currently housed in Chillicothe — about 24 hours ahead of their execution. Otte was scheduled to visit with his attorneys, brother and sister and parents.

Last week, a federal judge rejected Otte's argument that the first drug in Ohio's lethal injection method, a sedative called midazolam, creates an unconstitutional risk of serious pain by failing to render inmates deeply unconscious. Otte is not appealing that decision.

Otte will be housed in a cell near the death chamber for the rest of Tuesday and early Wednesday.

His requested final meal, called the special meal in Ohio, includes a mushroom and Swiss cheese hamburger, a quart of Heath Bar ice cream and a slice of banana cream pie.

Relatives of Wasikowski and Kostura planned to witness the execution. Ministers and a nurse observing the procedure in case of problems planned to witness on Otte's behalf.

___

Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

FILE – This undated file photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows death row inmate Gary Otte, convicted of shooting two people to death in back-to-back robberies in February 1992.  Ohio could be on track to resume executions at a regular pace after putting two condemned killers to death in the past three months.  The state executed child killer Ronald Phillips in July and Otte on Sept. 13, 2017 in the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.  Witnesses said Phillips did not appear to be distressed. Otte’s chest rose and fell several times over two minutes in a fashion similar to some executions in the past. Ohio went more than three years without an execution as it struggled to find a source for drugs used in lethal injection. (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections via AP, File)
Judge: Inmate drug reaction wasn't enough to stop execution
The Latest: Lawyer laments university attempt to spike suitThe attorney for one of Ohio State's most famous football stars says he's disappointed the university is trying to get a judge to throw out a lawsuit alleging the university used ex-athletes' photos without permission
A group protests U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, as he arrives in Portland to discuss sanctuary city policies with city and regional law enforcement officials. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)
Sessions: Sanctuary cities undermine law's moral authority
Ohio State: Dismiss ex-player's lawsuit over image useOhio State is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit by one of its most famous football stars who alleges the university used ex-athletes' photos without permission and robbed them of compensation
Editorial Roundup: Excerpts from recent editorialsEditorial Roundup: Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the U.S. and abroad
FILE - In a Friday, May 19, 2017 file photo, former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner leaves Federal court, in New York. Federal prosecutors says former Congressman Anthony Weiner should go to prison for about two years for engaging in sexting with a 15-year-old girl. Prosecutors filed papers in Manhattan federal court Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, urging a judge to send a message at sentencing Monday. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
Government: Prison fits Weiner's sex crime on teen victim
This component is currently unavailable.
AdChoices

Related Searches

Related Searches

AdChoices