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Medical experts told grand jury ketamine caused Elijah McClain's death, records show

Medical experts testified that Elijah McClain died due to a ketamine injection, not a carotid hold an officer put him in, a filing by defense attorneys shows.

AURORA, Colo. — Several medical experts testified to the grand jury investigating the death of Elijah McClain that he died of the 500-milligram dose of ketamine administered by an Aurora Fire Rescue paramedic, and the effects of the carotid hold a police officer subjected him to did not cause his death, according to a filing by the officer’s defense attorneys.

A motion filed March 18 in former Aurora officer Nathan Woodyard’s case requests that an Adams County judge dismiss the indictments against him for lack of probable cause to support charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

Woodyard, two other police officers and two paramedics face 32 criminal charges connected to the 2019 death of 23-year-old McClain, a Black man. A grand jury indicted Woodyard, Randy Roedema, Jason Rosenblatt, Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec about nine months after convening.

They each face charges of manslaughter. Assault and criminally negligent homicide are also among the 32 counts.

Woodyard’s attorneys argued that there isn’t enough evidence to support the manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges because Woodyard had no authority over the decision to inject McClain with ketamine. They wrote that evidence indicates he wasn’t at the scene when paramedics decided to administer it because he had stepped away out of distress from using force on McClain earlier in the encounter. And since he isn’t a medical professional, he wouldn’t have had any way of knowing the 500-milligram dose would be too much for McClain, they wrote.

> Continue reading this story on DenverGazette.com

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