An autopsy in a botched 43-minute US execution that drew world outrage says the prisoner had healthy veins but his body had multiple punctures from the execution team trying to find them.
The private autopsy was released by lawyers for Oklahoma death row inmates on Friday.
Forensic pathologist Dr Joseph Cohen said more information was needed to determine why Clayton Lockett died after his execution was stopped, but his preliminary findings indicate that the execution team had tried repeatedly to insert an intravenous line into his body without success, including into deep veins on both sides of Lockett’s groin.
A doctor inside the death chamber during the April 29 execution reported that Lockett did not receive a full dose of the three lethal drugs after his vein collapsed, but Cohen said in his report that Lockett had “excellent integrity of peripheral and deep veins for the purpose of achieving venous access”.
Results from a state autopsy are pending, and toxicology reports haven’t been released, so it’s unclear how much of the drugs Lockett received.
After being declared unconscious by the doctor inside the death chamber during his execution, Lockett writhed on the gurney and attempted to lift his head for several minutes after the second and third drugs were administered.
After checking the IV, the doctor reported the drugs had either absorbed into Lockett’s tissue or leaked out of his body.
Oklahoma was using a new three-drug method for the first time.
Without a second dose of lethal drugs, Oklahoma’s prisons director halted the execution, but Lockett was pronounced dead anyway about 43 minutes after the execution began.
Prison officials have said he died of an apparent heart attack.
The Texas autopsy was part of an investigation ordered by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin into Lockett’s death.