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Death Penalty Opponents Try To Stop Ohio's Next Execution

Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.

Ohio’s second execution in two months is set to proceed on Wednesday. Gary Otte of Indiana is scheduled to be executed for two murders in Parma in 1992. Opponents of capital punishment says they’re not done fighting.

Prisons spokesperson JoEllen Smith says Otte arrived at the Southern Ohio correctional facility in Lucasville at 9:46 a.m. on Tuesday. He's scheduled to die at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Smith says that Otte's 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.

Anti-death penalty advocates say they’ve been expecting executions to go forward after they failed to stop Ronald Phillips’ execution in late July. Phillips was put to death with a never-before-tried mixture of drugs, and had no complications.

As of Tuesday morning, an appeals court rejected argments from Otte that he shouldn't be put to death because of his age at the time of the crime. Otte was 20 when he killed Robert Wasikowski and Sharon Kostura in suburban Cleveland.

Kevin Werner with Ohioans to Stop Executions says he’s also concerned about studies showing many death row inmates suffer from serious mental health issues or are survivors of abuse.

“When you take a close look at who Ohio is actually executing, we’re back to sort of the most vulnerable people in our society," Werner says.

Gov. John Kasich agreed with the parole board’s unanimous recommendation to deny clemency to Otte. After Otte, 25 men are on Ohio’s execution schedule over the next five years – more than in any other state.