(PatriotWise.com) — Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced on Wednesday the execution date for death row inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith, one of two men convicted for murder-for-hire in 1988, the Associated Press reported.
Smith is scheduled to be executed on January 25 using a new method of execution, nitrogen hypoxia.
While 78% of the air we breathe is made up of nitrogen, when inhaled with oxygen, it is harmless to humans. Under the method of execution, however, an inmate breathes 100% nitrogen. The lack of oxygen causes hypoxia, leading to death.
Alabama is one of three US states, along with Oklahoma and Mississippi, that have authorized nitrogen hypoxia as a method of execution. But Smith’s execution will be the first time the method has been used.
Gina Maiola, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in a statement that the method of execution was previously requested by Smith as an alternative to the traditional method of lethal injection.
On Thursday, Smith’s lawyers filed a federal lawsuit seeking to stop the execution, arguing that the state wanted to make Smith a “test subject” for the “experimental method.”
Smith was initially scheduled for execution last year, but the Department of Corrections called it off when the team overseeing his execution could not connect the two IV lines to Smith.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall asked the Alabama Supreme Court to grant an execution warrant for Smith in late October. On November 1, the Supreme Court granted the request in a 6–2 decision.
While the Court’s order did not specify the method of execution, in his filing, Marshall noted that his office intended to use nitrogen.
Proponents of nitrogen hypoxia have maintained that it would be a painless method of execution, while opponents have compared the untried method to human experimentation.
Smith and Joseph Forrest Parker were each paid $1,000 by Reverend Charles Sennett in 1988 to kill his wife, Elizabeth Sennett. Rev. Sennett was in debt and hoped to collect on her life insurance. He committed suicide a week after his wife’s murder.
Parker was executed by lethal injection in 2010.
Copyright 2023, PatriotWise.com