NewsElijah McClain | 360 In-Depth Coverage


Testimony resumes Tuesday in joint trial of 2 Aurora police officers charged in Elijah McClain's death

A recap of what evidence the jury has heard so far
Elijah McClain
Posted at 7:07 AM, Sep 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-25 09:08:59-04

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — On Tuesday, testimony will resume in the joint trial of two Aurora police officers who responded on the night 23-year-old Elijah McClain was killed.

McClain was walking home from a convenience store on August 24, 2019, when a 911 caller reported him as "sketchy." He was stopped by police and put into a carotid hold before paramedics arrived on scene and administered ketamine, a powerful sedative. A few days later, McClain died.

Aurora Police Department (APD) officers Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt (former) pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and second-degree assault.

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So far in court, prosecutors have argued McClain would have likely needed intensive medical care before ketamine was administered.

One of their witnesses, Dr. David Beuther, is a pulmonary critical care physician.

“From what I've observed, and my expertise, and what I just explained to you all about how aspiration works, in my medical opinion, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, he aspirated before the ketamine," Beuther said during testimony. "There's direct evidence that he vomited while the mask was still on. It was inside of the mask, around the nose in the mouth, and quite a bit of it... The more you vomit, the higher the risk of aspiration."

Beuther continued to say, in his opinion, McClain likely suffered from lactic acidosis and hypoxia as well. According to Beuther, if McClain had not suffered hypoxia, lactic acidosis and aspiration, he would have had a better chance of surviving the ketamine dose.

Defense attorneys claim the paramedics were responsible for McClain's death, saying once they arrived on scene it was their job to treat the patient. They also claim McClain attempted to grab one of the officers' guns, even though the prosecution says there is no evidence of that.

“The people have argued, and they will argue through this trial, that there's no evidence of this gun grab," one of the defense attorneys said during opening statements. "The evidence of the gun grab is Mr. Roedema's statement as it is occurring. He's exclaiming it as it is happening. So you're going to ask yourself, why would he make that up?”

Cross-examination of Beuther continues on Tuesday morning. The joint trial is anticipated to last into mid-October.

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A third officer, Nathan Woodyard, has a trial beginning Oct. 13. The charges against him of reckless manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and assault. He is accused of putting McClain in the carotid hold. Two Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics — Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper — have trials beginning Nov. 17 and 27, respectively, for charges of reckless manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and assault, plus sentence enhancers. The paramedics are accused of injecting a significant amount of ketamine into McClain, causing him to overdose.

Elijah McClain case: Testimony resumes Tuesday in two Aurora Police officers' joint trial

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