Autopsy On Executed Oklahoma Inmate Cites IV Issue

Friday, June 13th 2014, 2:13 pm
By: News 9

An autopsy arranged by lawyers for condemned Oklahoma inmates say a prisoner who died following a botched execution had healthy veins but his body had punctures from multiple attempts to tap them.

Pathologist Dr. Joseph Cohen said more information was needed to determine why Clayton Lockett died.

On April 29, Lockett was executed for the 1999 murder of 19-year-old Stephanie Nieman.

Lockett was supposed to die of lethal injection, but instead died of a heart attack 40 minutes after the drug was injected into his arm. Oklahoma officials have said it appeared Lockett didn't receive a full dose of three lethal drugs, perhaps after a vein collapsed.

The next day, Governor Mary Fallin called for an independent review of the botched execution.

4/30/2014 Related Story: Gov. Fallin Calls For Independent Review After Botched Execution

On May 1, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections released a document that details a list of events on the day of the execution.

According to the document, at 5:22 p.m., Lockett was placed and restrained on the execution table. Shortly after, a Phlebotomist entered the execution chamber to determine an appropriate placement for IV. The Phlebotomist examined Lockett's arms, legs, and feet to find a viable insertion point, but no viable point of entry was located. The doctor then examined Lockett's neck and groin area.

The IV insertion process was completed at 6:18 p.m. The insertion point was covered with a sheet to prevent witness viewing of the groin area.

At 6:23 p.m., the warden received approval to proceed with the execution from Director Patton. That's when shades in the execution chamber were raised.

Lockett declined the opportunity to make a final statement, and the warden began the execution. Midazolam was administered intravenously.

5/1/2014 Related Story: DOC Releases Timeline Of Clayton Lockett's Execution

At 6:33 p.m., a doctor determined that Lockett was unconscious. Vecuronium bromide was then administered intravenously, followed by potassium chloride.

Officials lowered the shades at 6:42 p.m. as the Phlebotomist and the doctor checked the IV. Between 6:44 p.m. to 6:56 p.m., the doctor reported the Lockett's blood vein had collapsed, and the drugs had either absorbed into his tissue, or leaked out, or both.

The warden immediately contacted Director Patton by phone and reported the information. The director asked if enough drugs had been administered to cause death, to which the doctor replied "no." Director Patton then asked if another vein was available and if there were enough drugs remaining, the doctor said "no" to both questions.

According to the document, the director then requested clarification as to whether enough drugs had been administered to cause death, and the doctor said "no."

The doctor then checked Lockett's heartbeat. He found a faint heart beat and Lockett was unconscious.

At 6:56 p.m., Director Patton called off the execution order under the authority granted by the Governor.

At 7:06 p.m., the doctor pronounced Lockett dead.

6/9/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma Inmate's Body Returned From Independent Autopsy

Although it was originally reported that Lockett's execution was botched by a vein failure, the independent autopsy shows Lockett had good veins. Cohen said it appeared the execution team failed repeatedly while inserting an intravenous line.

Results from a state autopsy are pending. Toxicology reports haven't been issued, so it's unclear how much of the drugs Lockett received.