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Autopsy Says Drugs Killed Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma Execution

A jail official had claimed Clayton Lockett died of a heart attack after the execution was halted, but the autopsy says the injection was lethal.
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An autopsy on a inmate who died during a botched execution in Oklahoma found the drugs he was given killed him, not a heart attack as prison officials initially claimed. The report on Clayton Lockett's death was prepared by a Texas medical examiner after Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin ordered a review of the April 29 debacle, which drew condemnation from the White House. The report concludes that Lockett "died as the result of judicial execution by lethal injection."

Lockett's execution was halted after he appeared to regain consciousness and struggle in pain midway through the process — which involved a three-drug cocktail the state was using for the first time. A timeline provided by prison officials two days later said that doctors ran a line into Lockett's groin, the vein collapsed and the drugs leaked into his tissue.

Dale Baich, a lawyer for Oklahoma death-row prisoners, said the autopsy report leaves the big question unanswered: "What went wrong during Mr. Lockett's execution, which took over 45 minutes, with witnesses reporting he writhed and gasped in pain?" He faulted the medical examiner for not dissecting Lockett's femoral region, where the lethal dose entered his body. All executions in the state are on hold until the review is completed.


— Tracy Connor