Death row inmate who survived botched execution is given new date to be put to death using grisly untested method | The Sun
15th November 2023

A DEATH row inmate who previously survived a botched execution has now been given a new date to be put to death using a grisly untested method.

Kenneth Eugene Smith, who pulled through a capital punishment by lethal injection last year, will now be executed on January 25 using nitrogen gas.

Smith was one of two men convicted in the 1988 murder-for-hire slaying of Elizabeth Sennett in northwestern Alabama.

Prosecutors reported Smith and his partner in crime were paid $1,000 to kill Sennett on behalf of her pastor husband, who was deeply in debt and wanted to collect on insurance.

Her husband took his own life a week later.

While the other convict was executed in 2010,Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced on Wednesday the new date to put Smith to death using the previously untested method.

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In a written statement, Ivey's spokesperson Gina Maiola said: "The execution will be carried out by nitrogen hypoxia, the method previously requested by the inmate as an alternative to lethal injection."

Last week, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said the court decision had "cleared the way" for Smith's execution by nitrogen hypoxia.

He described how Sennett's family has "waited an unconscionable 35 years to see justice served."

The untested method of execution, if successful, will make Alabama the first US state to attempt an execution by nitrogen gas.

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However, there is a legal fight going on against what is being described as a "human experiment" on the convict.

Smith's attorney  Robert Grass on Thursday filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to stop the execution.

He said: "Alabama is attempting to make my client the test subject for this novel and experimental method.

"The never-before-used method is unwarranted – and the protocol has never been fully disclosed to him or his counsel.

"We remain hopeful that those who review this case will see how this method is unjust."

Theorised to be a painless execution method by the proponents, death by nitrogen hypoxia is authorised in three states – Alabama, Oklahoma, and Mississippi – but has never been used.

Death row inmates like Smith would be forced to breathe pure nitrogen, depriving them of oxygen until they die.

Although nitrogen makes up 78 per cent of the air we inhale, it is harmless when combined with oxygen.

Prisoners are reportedly likely to be restrained and possibly sedated, before being gassed and falling unconscious.

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