Judge: Drug reaction wasn’t enough to stop execution of man convicted of Parma killings

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A federal judge says the physical reaction of an Ohio inmate being put to death wasn't enough to stop the execution under current legal precedent governing lethal injection in the state.

Judge Michael Merz also says it was likely too late for him to act by the time attorneys for inmate Gary Otte reached him by phone last week.

Merz explained in a weekend ruling his decision not to stop Otte's execution on Sept 13.

An attorney who contacted Merz after the execution started said there were signs Otte was crying, clenching his hands and that his stomach was heaving.

Merz said the description wasn't enough to override an appeals court ruling this summer stating that the likelihood of pain after the injection of the sedative midazolam didn't violate the constitution.

Otte was sentenced to die for the Feb. 12, 1992, killing of Robert Wasikowski and the Feb. 13, 1992, killing of Sharon Kostura. Both slayings took place in Parma, in suburban Cleveland.

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