Alabama Sets Date for Nitrogen Gas Execution

( – The State of Alabama has set the date for the execution of convicted murderer Kenneth Eugene Smith.

Smith will have the distinction of being the first death row inmate to be executed by the state through the use of nitrogen asphyxiation. The method of execution will also be the first such execution in the entire country.

The inmate’s execution is scheduled to be held between the 25th or 26th of January next year, based on the order from Alabama Governor Kay Ivey.

The state previously attempted to execute Smith through the conventional means of using lethal injection, but execution was eventually aborted after repeated failures to find a vein where the needle for the intravenous line could be inserted. The use of nitrogen hypoxia to execute death row inmates has technically been allowed since 2018 following an order by the state, but the method has not been used yet.

The use of nitrogen hypoxia will see Smith fitted with a face mask connected to nitrogen tank. The inmate will be forced to breathe in the nitrogen until he eventually expires due to a lack of oxygen.

Lawyers for the inmate continue to argue for their client, reasoning that Smith has not yet exhausted all his appeals. They also allege that the method of execution, which they call “experimental,” violates the Constitution that stipulates that the state cannot use “cruel and unusual punishments.” Furthermore, Smith’s attorneys say that it is unconstitutional for the state to execute their client a second time.

Smith has been on death row since 1988. He was convicted of the murder of Elizabeth Sennett, whom he killed at the behest of her husband, Rev. Charles Sennett, who paid Smith and another man $1,000 each for the hit job. Charles eventually took his own life when the police investigation began to focus on him as the possible mastermind of the murder.

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