Alabama Administers First Execution Using Nitrogen Gas on Death Row Inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith

Alabama has conducted the first known execution in the United States using nitrogen gas. Kenneth Eugene Smith, a convicted murderer, was pronounced dead after a controversial execution process that involved the use of nitrogen hypoxia. Witnesses reported a violent reaction from Smith during the process, and the execution has sparked differing reactions across the country.

  • Alabama carried out the first known execution by nitrogen gas on Kenneth Eugene Smith.
  • Smith was executed for the 1988 capital murder of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett.
  • The Supreme Court denied a last-minute appeal by Smith’s lawyers who claimed the method was cruel and unusual punishment.
  • Witnesses described Smith’s reaction to the execution as violent, unlike any previous executions they had seen in Alabama.
  • Charles Sennett, the son of the victim, expressed that the execution would not bring back his mother but provided a sense of closure.
  • Reactions to the execution are mixed, with some seeing it as justice served, while others question the method’s humaneness.
  • Alabama Governor Kay Ivey stated that Smith had answered for his crimes after over 30 years of legal delays.
  • Nitrogen gas was chosen as the method after previous difficulties in administering lethal injection to Smith.
  • The execution process involved Smith inhaling nitrogen gas, which deprived his body of oxygen.
  • Witnesses to the execution reported that Smith was gasping for breath and took several minutes to die after the nitrogen gas was administered.

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