A court in Alabama has agreed to put death row inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith to death with nitrogen gas rather than the lethal injection after a botched attempt last year.
Smith was sentenced to death in 1996 after admitting the murder-for-hire killing of a pastor’s wife who was beaten and stabbed in 1988.
In November last year, prison staff tried to execute him via lethal injection but they couldn’t find an intravenous connection.
Smith was sentenced to death in 1996 after admitting the murder-for-hire killing of a pastor’s wife who was beaten and stabbed in 1988
By the time they did, the midnight deadline for him to be killed had passed.
He and his attorneys appealed to the court to avoid a second lethal injection, claiming he was in excruciating pain throughout.
As an alternative, he will now become the first death row inmate ever to be killed with nitrogen gas.
While it has been legal since 2018, it has not yet been used on any inmate.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement: ‘Elizabeth Sennett’s family has waited an unconscionable 35 years to see justice served.
‘Today, the Alabama Supreme Court cleared the way for Kenneth Smith to be executed by nitrogen hypoxia for the 1988 murder-for-hire of Elizabeth.
‘Though the wait has been far too long, I am grateful that our talented capital litigators have nearly gotten this case to the finish line.’
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall celebrated the decision today