Questions Remain After Autopsy in Botched OK Execution


Records released Thursday provided few answers as to why and how Oklahoma's execution of inmate Clayton Lockett went awry, says the Tulsa World. A Texas medical examiner's autopsy of Lockett's body after his botched execution found the inmate died “as the result of judicial execution by lethal injection.” The autopsy does not appear to support earlier official statements that Lockett's vein collapsed or that he died from a heart attack.

The results suggest Lockett died slowly because the lethal drugs were injected into soft tissue, not a vein. Witnesses at the April 29 execution described him as mumbling and writhing on the gurney after he had been declared unconscious by a combination of drugs Oklahoma had never used before. Details of the drugs were not revealed. The autopsy cites evidence on Lockett's body that the execution team had difficulty starting his IV, taking about 45 minutes. It notes at least 14 needle marks and incisions showing multiple attempts to start an IV in his elbows, groin, neck, jugular and foot.

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