Pathologist disputes report on possible ‘cutdown’ procedure on Joe Nathan James, Jr.

Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 10:07 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - An independent expert who performed the second autopsy on an Alabama death row inmate executed over the summer is disputing a report about a possible “cutdown” procedure.

Dr. Boris Datnow says he essentially came to the same conclusion as the state’s autopsy. Datnow says there was no evidence of an invasive cutdown procedure on James. The state autopsy obtained by WBRC does indicate there were multiple punctures in James, both in his arms and feet, but not exactly how many.

Datnow tells us there were not an abnormal amount of pinpricks or attempts to start an intravenous line in James. Datnow also didn’t find any signs of a struggle or abuse.

The state did admit it had trouble placing an IV before James’ execution, but as far as that cutdown procedure, Datnow says if there was one present, he would have put it in his report.

“Had there been a cutdown incision I’m sure I would have and would have measured it, talked about its average depth and what we found in that incision. There was no such a thing,” Datnow said.

James was executed after about a three-hour delay. His cause of death is listed as lethal injection drugs. James was executed in July for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Faith Hall, in 1994.

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