Ohio Supreme Court rejects killer's bid to delay execution

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 07, 2017 6:42 PM

By Chris Kenning

(Reuters) - The Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday denied a request by death row inmate Gary Otte to delay his scheduled execution next week so he could pursue appeals.

Otte, 45, convicted for two home-invasion robbery killings in 1992 in a Cleveland suburb, is scheduled to be put to death on Sept. 13. The court did not explain its decision.

Otte was found guilty of murder after he shot 61-year-old Robert Wasikowski in the head from less than two feet away and stole $413, according to court documents.

The next day, Otto returned to the same apartment complex and shot 45-year-old Sharon Kostura in the head before stealing $45, her car keys and a checkbook, documents show.

Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich already rejected a clemency request. Otte's federal public defenders could not be reached Thursday.

In July, Ohio put to death a 43-year-old Ronald Phillips, convicted of raping and killing a three-year-old child, in what was the state's first execution in more than three years after a lengthy legal dispute over the choice of lethal injection drugs.

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

A federal court ruled in January that Ohio's new lethal injection process was problematic, delaying executions. A three-judge panel from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction in April, but that ruling was overturned in June by the full court.

(Reporting by Chris Kenning; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)