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Defense Says Deputy’s Bullet Didn’t Kill Man

TULSA (CN) - A defense witness testified Tuesday that Eric Harris died from a heart attack, not a gunshot, during the manslaughter trial of former volunteer Tulsa County sheriff's deputy Robert Bates.

Emergency medicine specialist Dr. Mark Brandenburg said a medical examiner's conclusion that Harris bled to death after being shot is "absolutely untrue," the Tulsa World newspaper reported.

Brandenburg testified there was no evidence of bleeding in Harris's chest cavity or of a lung collapse.

The doctor concluded that Harris, a black man, had a heart attack caused by elevated adrenaline and a "very high level" of methamphetamine in his body that "would impact a person."

Brandenburg said adrenaline is an instigator of cardiac arrest and that Harris had an "underlying primary heart problem."

Prosecutors asked on cross-examination how Harris could not have bled to death if doctors had to pump 4.5 liters of blood into him, and Harris's body had only six liters of blood.

Asked where the pumped blood could have gone, Brandenburg said into defects, such as a punctured lung cause by a bullet.

Prosecutors also said that though the defense has said Harris appeared to be high on methamphetamine twice before when he bought guns, he did not die then.

Bates, 73, a white insurance executive, faces up to four years in prison if convicted of second-degree manslaughter.

He is shown in a body camera video shooting an restrained Harris, 44, during a gun sale sting and arrest last year.

Bates has steadfastly said he mistook his gun for his Taser, screaming, "Taser!" before firing and immediately apologizing as Harris screamed that he had been shot.

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