The Lockett Autopsy Report is at the link, via the Tulsa World.
"Injected Drugs Said to Kill Man in Flawed Execution," is by Erik Eckholm for the New York Times.
Clayton D. Lockett, the prisoner whose prolonged writhing during his execution on April 29 led Oklahoma to suspend executions and caused national questioning of lethal injection methods, was killed by the injected drugs and not by a heart attack as state officials originally announced, according to a state-commissioned autopsy report released Thursday.
The report, prepared by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas, which serves as the Dallas County medical examiner, did not explore what caused Mr. Lockett’s execution to go awry.
Its conclusion about the cause of death was not inconsistent, however, with the findings of an independent medical expert who examined the body on behalf of defense lawyers.
Those findings concluded that it was the inexpert placement of an injection line in Mr. Lockett’s groin that caused the lethal drugs to spread through local tissue, rather than coursing directly into the bloodstream.
"Drugs killed Oklahoma inmate in troubled execution," is the Associated Press report filed by Tim Talley.
But the report does not answer why the execution took so long and why Lockett writhed on the gurney.
Lockett's attorney, David Autry of Oklahoma City, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. But Dale Baich of the Federal Public Defender's Office in Phoenix, who represents a group of Oklahoma death row prisoners who commissioned an independent autopsy of Lockett, said more information is needed.
"What this initial autopsy report does not appear to answer is what went wrong during Mr. Lockett's execution," Baich said in a statement.
Oklahoma and other death penalty states have encountered problems in recent years obtaining lethal injection chemicals after major drugmakers stopped selling them for use in executions. That has forced states to find alternative drugs, purchased mostly from loosely regulated pharmacies that custom-make medications. Many states refuse to name suppliers and offer no details about how the drugs are tested or how executioners are trained.
Oklahoma put executions on hold after Lockett's April 29 execution.
Officials at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester have said Lockett's vein collapsed during the lethal injection process. The autopsy does not say whether that's the case, though it does confirm that medical technicians poked him about 12 times as they tried to find a vein before settling on using one in his groin.
The Tulsa World reports, "Autopsy released on Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett's botched execution," by Cary Aspinwall and Ziva Branstetter.
Records released Thursday provided few answers as to why and how Oklahoma’s execution of inmate Clayton Lockett went awry.
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.”
Autopsy results were released Thursday, nearly four months after Lockett’s execution April 29. Witnesses at the execution, including a Tulsa World reporter, 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.
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.
The autopsy does not summarize the findings of included toxicology tests or offer any judgment about whether Lockett received proper doses of midazolam, the drug used to anesthetize and sedate him.
"Clayton Derrell Lockett died as a result of lethal injection drugs and not of a heart attack," is by Graham Lee Brewer for the Oklahoman.
The autopsy report provides no new insights on why Lockett took so long to die.
With the release of the autopsy report, a state investigation into Lockett’s execution is now moving into its final stages, said Michael Thompson, commissioner of the state Public Safety Department.
“Our investigative team has concluded well over one hundred interviews, collected evidence, reviewed reports and upon receipt of the autopsy report, will move into the final phase of completing a summary report of the findings,” Thompson wrote in a news release.
The investigation was initiated through an executive order by Gov. Mary Fallin. The governor called for an independent investigation, and therefore the autopsy was performed out of state.
"Autopsy: Oklahoma inmate died from lethal injection, not heart attack," by Matt Pearce and Tina Susman in the Los Angeles Times.
The autopsy was conducted by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, which is the crime lab of Dallas County, Texas, two days after the execution. The results and other documents involving the execution were released by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, which has been handling the governor's review.
Oklahoma public safety officials said they were in the “final stages” of investigating Lockett’s execution and were completing recommendations to improve the execution process before the state’s next scheduled procedure on Nov. 13.
The autopsy’s finding that Lockett died of the lethal drugs was notable because state officials initially said he died of a heart attack.
A separate, private preliminary autopsy had found that execution officials were unable to find a vein in which to inject the drugs. Officials then attempted to inject them through a femoral vein in Lockett's groin, but the IV was placed improperly, according to that autopsy by Dr. Joseph I. Cohen, a pathologist retained by the state's death row prisoners.
The Guardian posts, "Clayton Lockett didn't die of heart attack, Oklahoma official autopsy shows," by Ed Pilkington.
Though the report does not settle the question of how Lockett died, concluding only that the cause of death was “judicial execution by lethal injection”, it does underline the extraordinary lengths to which the execution team went in trying to kill him. It records evidence of 16 needle puncture marks in locations all over his body – from his upper chest and jugular region, to his upper arm, elbow pit, wrist groin and foot.
A more complete understanding of what went wrong in the 29 April execution may be given by the official inquiry into what happened that was ordered by Oklahoma’s governor Mary Fallin. The state has indicated that it will release the report within the next few days.
Additional coverage includes:
"Autopsy: Inmate in botched Oklahoma execution died from lethal injection," by Kate Zezima at the Washington Post.
"Autopsy shows inmate in botched execution died from injection," by Steve Almasy of CNN.
NBC News posts, "Autopsy Says Drugs Killed Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma Execution," by Tracy Connor.
"Oklahoma Death Row Inmate Died From Lethal Injection, Not Heart Attack," by Josh Sanburn for Time.
"Drugs, not heart attack, caused death in botched Oklahoma execution," at Al Jazeera America.
Earlier coverage of Oklahoma's botched execution of Clayton Lockett begins at the link.
There is a temporary moratorium on executions in Oklahoma, pending the state's investigation.