Gary Otte, 45, was executed Wednesday morning for murdering two people in 1992. He died 31 minutes after the execution team began administering the lethal injection protocol. His attorney, Carol Wright, tried leaving the witness room, wanting to alert a federal judge that she believed that Otte was suffering.

Otte’s lawyer was delayed in leaving the witness room until her identity and her intention were verified, said JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. When Wright reached Judge Michael Merz, it was too late. Her client was pronounced dead at 10:54 AM at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.

Smith said the state followed security protocols when Wright tried to leave. She also assured that Otte’s capital punishment was administered without complication and in compliance with prison policy. However, Wright believes that Otte was enduring air hunger, which is a type of respiratory distress. She contends that there were mistakes made during his execution.

Condemned killer’s final hours, final meal

Otte didn’t sleep very well Tuesday night, according to Smith. He spent his final hours visiting with calling friends and family and visiting with his parents. He had his final meal, which included a mushroom Swiss cheeseburger, a slice of banana cream pie, and a quart of Heath Bar ice cream. Otte took his last shower early Wednesday morning, Smith said. He also prayed with his parents before 7 AM before his date with death.

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Otte was executed for killing 61-year-old Robert Wasikowski on February 12, 1992, and for killing 45-year-old Sharon Kostura on February 12, 1992. Otte asked Wasikowski to let him inside his apartment so that he could use the phone. After shooting Wasikowski, Otte stole approximately $400 from him. The following day, he forced his way into Kostura’s apartment. He also shot her, stole $45, and took her car keys.

They were murdered in their suburban Cleveland apartments during home invasions when Otte was 20-years-old. His age at the time of the killings was central to his appeal to Ohio’s Supreme Court. He argued that the court should apply a Kentucky court ruling that determined the capital punishment is unconstitutional for killers who were not, yet, 21, when they committed murder.

Killer denied clemency, exhausted legal options

The state’s Parole Board and Governor John Kasich denied granting Otte clemency. When Ohio’s high court rejected hearing his argument against carrying out the death sentence against him roughly two hours prior to his execution, Otte’s legal options ended.

The United States Supreme Court already ruled on Tuesday against granting him a stay of execution.

Otte’s final statement was his declaration of love for his family. He also sang a religious song and quoted the Bible, saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they’re doing,” NBC News reported

Witnesses to Otte’s execution included Wasikowski’s brother and his daughter and Kostura’s sister, brother-in-law, and niece.

Wright said she saw tears on Otte’s face when the sedative Midazolam was injected. The midazolam was the first of three drugs administered in the execution protocol. She also said Otte’s chest was rising and falling. To her, the physical signs her client reportedly displayed were indications that he was experiencing pain or feeling sensations before he died.