Cheryl Wittenauer's report is titled, "AP Interview: Doctor behind executions speaks out."
He owns three Harleys, is a self-described staunch Roman Catholic — and has helped kill dozens of men. Dr. Alan Doerhoff calls himself the "world's authority on lethal injection."
The 64-year-old Missouri surgeon estimates he's presided over about 40 executions, and said he assisted Missouri, Arizona and the federal government modernize their execution procedures.
"Nobody will ever do as many as I have," Doerhoff said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press.
But he also has been banned from participating in Missouri executions by a judge concerned about Doerhoff's admission of dyslexia, which caused him to transpose numbers and make mistakes, though not "medically crucial" errors when mixing the lethal drugs.
Doerhoff, who was sued for malpractice more than 20 times and was reprimanded by the state for not disclosing them, now says he is not dyslexic, but does transpose numbers.
Doerhoff's name was in the news last month when the Arizona Republic reported that he apparently was involved in the May 2007 execution of Robert Comer, Arizona's first execution in nearly seven years. Doerhoff confirmed to the AP that he presided over that death.
Doerhoff also said he started the IVs and presided at all three executions in 2001 and 2003 at the Terre Haute, Ind., federal prison — including Timothy McVeigh's, sentenced to die for the 1995 bombing of an Oklahoma City federal building, which killed 168 people.
Doerhoff practiced surgery 20 years in Missouri's prison hospitals before becoming its executioner. Doerhoff advised Missouri on dosages for its new lethal injection machine on George "Tiny" Mercer in 1989, and executed him. In 1995, Missouri again turned to him after errors caused Emmitt Foster's execution to take a half-hour.
Corrections officials called him the next day, wanting help with their public relations problem. He said he conducted every subsequent Missouri execution. The state halted executions in 2006 until reforms were enacted.
Doerhoff said the national debate about lethal injection has mistakenly centered on drugs, which "always work." Failures result from IV malfunctions or misplacement by untrained personnel.
Though his primary role is starting a central line, Doerhoff has helped mix drugs, and reassured nervous guards pressing the drug-release plunger.
"These guys are scared to death, they're shaky," he said. "I assure them I've taken care of everything so that nothing will go wrong. I help them calmly go through the procedure."
Missouri's court-ordered written execution protocol will be tested Aug. 27, when the state conducts its first execution in nearly three years. It calls for 10 to 15 syringes rather than the usual three.
Doerhoff said Missouri's new protocol is overly complicated and potentially problematic.
He said administering the drugs over a longer period of time in various syringes could jeopardize their effectiveness.
"It will have the same effect, the guy will die," he said. "But it may not be pretty."
Earlier coverage of Doerhoff is here.