Ohio News Notebook

Associated Press

Otte executed at Lucasville prison

LUCASVILLE — A man convicted of killing two people in back-to-back robberies in suburban Cleveland in 1992 was executed Wednesday as family members of his victims looked on.

The prison system announced the time of death for Gary Otte as 10:54 a.m. following the administration of three lethal drugs at the Southern Ohio Correctional Faciltiy in Lucasville.

In his final statement, the 45-year-old Otte professed his love for his family, sang a Christian hymn and quoted the Bible. Otte quoted the Bible with his last words: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they’re doing. Amen.” The words were derived from a Bible account of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.

Otte was sentenced to die for the Feb. 12, 1992, killing of Robert Wasikowski and the Feb. 13, 1992, killing of Sharon Kostura.

Witnesses on Wednesday included the daughter and brother of Wasikowski and the sister, brother-in-law and niece of Kostura.

Trial date set for alleged killer

ASHLAND — A 2018 trial date has been set for an Ohio man charged with abducting and killing two women.

Shawn Grate has pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated murder and kidnapping in the deaths of 29-year-old Elizabeth Griffith and 43-year-old Stacey Stanley. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Police arrested Grate in September 2016 after finding the women’s bodies in an Ashland home where another woman said she was held captive.

Investigators say Grate admitted killing at least two other women elsewhere.

The Ashland Times-Gazette reports a judge has set an April 9, 2018, trial date for Grate.

Grate’s attorneys aren’t permitted to comment because of a judge’s gag order.

Supreme Court takes up online charter school case

COLUMBUS — Ohio’s high court has agreed to consider an enrollment dispute the state’s largest online charter school says could determine the fate of the entire industry.

The Ohio Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to hear an appeal from Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, commonly called ECOT.

The school is challenging how the Ohio Department of Education tallied student log-ins when it determined that ECOT must repay $60 million for misrepresenting enrollment in 2015-16.

The state contends ECOT didn’t provide adequate documentation of student participation to justify the nearly 14,000 students for which it was compensated. The school argues the state wrongly changed reporting criteria.

ECOT is one of the largest online charter schools in the U.S. It announced last month that it was applying to be designated a dropout prevention school.

Sheriff: Family killed when truck runs light

CAMDEN — Authorities in western Ohio say a tractor-trailer ran through a red light and struck a car, killing a couple and their three-year-old daughter.

The Preble County Sheriff’s office says the three killed in Tuesday’s crash are Melissa Hudson and her husband, Schon Hudson and their daughter, Emerie.

All three were from the village of Camden, where the crash happened. The couple has two older children who weren’t in the car.

Authorities say the truck’s driver was in serious condition at a Dayton hospital.

The sheriff’s office says the truck hit two other cars when it went through the light. The drivers of those vehicles were treated at the scene.

Retired professor sentenced for voyeurism

CINCINNATI — A retired Ohio professor and particle physicist has received six months in jail on voyeurism and child pornography charges for placing a miniature spy camera in a women’s locker room.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports 77-year-old Brian Meadows was led from a Cincinnati courtroom in handcuffs Tuesday. A judge required him to complete a treatment program and register as a sex offender.

A prosecutor said Meadows streamed images to his cellphone last year from a camera set up outside the women’s toilet and shower area of a health club. Court records said four women and two girls were recorded.

Meadows apologized in court. His attorney said he has mental health issues.

Meadows stopped teaching in May 2016 while continuing research using the Large Hadron Collider built beneath the French-Swiss border.

Tuscarawas County auctions machine gun for $90K

NEW PHILADELPHIA — The Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office has auctioned off a 1920s-era Thompson submachine gun for $90,000.

The New Philadelphia Times Reporter reports bidding began at $40,000 Monday night at the Tuscarawas County Justice Center in New Philadelphia. An anonymous buyer purchased the gun with an appraised value of $37,000.

The Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office bought the Thompson Model 1921 submachine gun in 1934.

Sheriff Orvis Campbell attributes the high auction price to support for his agency. He says he thinks the buyer was someone local who wanted to keep the weapon in the area.

The auctioneer provided his services for free.

Campbell says auction proceeds will be used to buy equipment for his deputies.


Associated Press