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Double murderer sings haunting hymn and quotes Jesus Christ as he's executed by lethal injection

Mirror logo Mirror 13/09/2017 Chris kitching

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc A double murderer sang a hymn and quoted the Bible as he was executed for gunning down two people 25 years ago.

Gary Otte apologised to his victims' families - who watched the execution - and sang 'The Greatest Thing' just moments before he died by lethal injection as he was strapped to a gurney.

His final words were a verse from the Bible, attributed to Jesus Christ during his crucifixion.

The 45-year-old convicted killer said in the execution room: "Father forgive them, for they don't know what they do. Amen."

He was put to death today after a last minute appeal to the US Supreme Court was rejected.

Otte was 20 when he fatally shot two residents one day apart at an apartment building in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, in 1992.

Robert Wasikowski, 61, was shot in the head from less than two feet away and had $413 stolen from him.

The next day, Otte returned to the same building and shot Sharon Kostura, 45, in the head before stealing $45, her car keys and cheques.

Otte had blamed an addiction to crack cocaine.

The execution went ahead at a prison in Lucasville and Otte was pronounced dead at 10.54am local time.

Otte breathed heavily for about three minutes before he stopped moving, Cleveland.com reported.

He was still for another eight minutes before a member of the execution team checked his heartbeat.

He was pronounced dead two minutes later.

Credits: Hulton Archive © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Hulton Archive Otte's last meal was a mushroom cheeseburger, ice cream and banana pie.

Ohio's corrections department said he did not sleep during his final night in prison and spent time visiting with his parents and attorneys, and talking to friends on the phone.

Just hours before he was executed, his parents visited him again this morning and they prayed before he gave them one final hug.

He had more meetings with his legal team, spoke to a friend on the phone and was seen singing.

Witnesses said Otte did not appear to suffer any breathing problems or a prolonged death after a cocktail of drugs was administered, NBC News reported.

Otte had launched a legal challenge to the use of the sedative midazolam. Other states have used the drug in executions where witnesses said inmates appeared to twist in pain while strapped to a gurney.

As part of an appeal, his lawyers had argued that it would be cruel and unusual punishment to execute someone who was so young at the time of the killings.

His legal team tried to have the death sentence overturned on the basis that a court in Kentucky ruled that it was unconstitutional to execute inmates younger than 21 at the time of their crimes.

But Ohio's top court refused to halt the execution or hear the appeal, and turned down a stay of execution.

The US Supreme Court rejected a last minute appeal two hours before the execution after Otte's legal team argued that an appeals panel wrongly stated that one of the victims was black, NBC News reported.

Ohio Governor John Kasich, who ran an unsuccessful bid to be the Republican presidential nominee last year, denied a clemency request on September 1.

Otte was the second death row inmate to be executed in Ohio this year.

There was a three-year hiatus over difficulties obtaining the lethal injection drugs and legal challenges objecting to the use of midazolam.

Executions resumed after a US appeals court lifted a preliminary injunction in June.

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