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Botched Oklahoma Execution Report Finds Failure To Properly Deliver Lethal Drugs To Clayton Lockett

By Jon Herskovitz and Heide Brandes

June 13 (Reuters) - Oklahoma failed to properly insert an intravenous line to deliver lethal drugs to an inmate during a botched execution in April, bypassing strong veins in his arms and using a riskier entry point in the groin area, according to a preliminary autopsy released on Friday by the inmate's lawyers.

Convicted murderer and rapist Clayton Lockett died, apparently of a heart attack, about 30 minutes after prison officials halted the execution, having failed to properly administer the lethal injection. Prison officials drew a curtain to cut off a view to witnesses about 15 minutes into the procedure, as Lockett was squirming on a death chamber gurney.

The White House criticized the execution as being beyond humane standards. No execution has been held in the United States since then, with courts granting stays for various reasons to those who were scheduled to be put to death in the weeks that followed.

"Contrary to statements by the state, Mr. Lockett's veins did not collapse or 'blow out'," lawyers for Lockett said.

The independent report by forensic pathologist Joseph Cohen found Lockett's veins, both surface and deep, were in excellent shape "for the purpose of achieving venous access," it said.

There were skin punctures on Lockett's left and right arms, indicating that prison officials tried and failed to insert an IV in both arms and then set an IV in the groin area, which would typically be more painful, the autopsy report said.

Oklahoma officials did not comment, saying they will have the results of their own independent autopsy in a few weeks.

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Background Photo Credit: Kasia Broussalian © 2015