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Elijah McClain autopsy report amended

Coroner says changes were made based on grand jury investigation.

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — Elijah McClain's autopsy report was changed at some point before three Aurora police officers and two paramedics were charged in his death.

Colorado Public Radio first reported the news, which 9NEWS has confirmed.

McClain died three years ago after being stopped by police (despite doing nothing wrong or illegal), placed in a chokehold and then injected with a powerful sedative by paramedics.  

The Adams County coroner said the autopsy was changed because of information that was revealed in the grand jury investigation into McClain's death.

The initial autopsy said McClain's death was undetermined and, based in part on that, the Adams County District Attorney decided not to file charges.

But, in December 2020, the Colorado Attorney General launched a grand jury investigation during which medical experts testified that it was the ketamine injection that killed McClain.

RELATED: Elijah McClain case: Arraignment postponed for 3 officers, 2 paramedics

Sometime after that, the autopsy report was changed, though the Adams County coroner will not say exactly what it was changed to.

9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson said the competing autopsies will be a big part of the trial, assuming the case goes that far.

"The defense can point to the original autopsy conclusion that the cause of death was undetermined, while the prosecution will, of course, want the jury to accept the amended autopsy report, which pretty much pinpoints ketamine as the probable cause of death," Robinson said.

In a written statement today, the Adams County coroner said she can not release the amended autopsy report because it contains confidential grand jury information.  

Each of the five people charged in the case faces one count of manslaughter and one count of criminally negligent homicide.

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