Image by Jim Cooke/ GMG

Gary Otte is scheduled to be executed by the state of Ohio on Wednesday. In what will likely be one of his last acts, he sent us the following essay.

Otte was convicted of shooting and killing two people in the course of robberies in 1992. He was 20 years old at the time of the crime, and reportedly suffered from psychological and developmental problems after drinking and using drugs from a young age. Today, the Ohio Supreme Court rejected Otte’s appeal for a stay of execution. If no higher court intervenes, he will die by lethal injection on September 13.

Months ago, I wrote to Otte asking him to tell us about his life as part of our periodic series of “Letters from Death Row.” This week, I got the following essay from him, along with a note saying: “You wrote to me a while back. I recently put together a few words about overcoming our growing drug epidemic. You are welcome to share it. It is a first draft and deserves 200+ pages more, but it is worth the look.”

In 2014, Texas inmate Ray Jasper sent us a moving letter summing up his thoughts of justice and empathy just weeks before he was executed. Otte chose to send us this essay, titled “OVERCOMING OUR DRUG EPIDEMIC.” It is reproduced in full below.

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Previously

Our past letters from death row inmates can be found here.