Kenneth Eugene Smith Wiki – Kenneth Eugene Smith Biography
Alabama officials want to kill 58-year-old Kenneth Eugene Smith from nitrogen hypoxia, forcing him to breathe only nitrogen, depriving him of oxygen and causing his death. Several states have authorized this method, which is said to be painless, but it has never been used until now. Critics have said authorities would be “experimenting with a method never used before,” but even Smith has said he would prefer death by nitrogen to lethal injection. The Alabama attorney general’s office asked the state Supreme Court Friday to set an execution date for Smith. The court record indicated that Alabama plans to execute him for nitrogen hypoxia. Nitrogen makes up 78% of the air inhaled by humans and is harmless when inhaled with oxygen. Proponents of the new method have theorized that it would be painless.
Alabama authorized the method in 2018 amid a shortage of drugs used for lethal injections, but the state has so far not tried to use it to carry out a death sentence. Oklahoma and Mississippi have also licensed nitrogen hypoxia, but have not used it. The revelation that Alabama is ready to use nitrogen hypoxia is expected to spark a new round of legal battles over the constitutionality of the method. Smith was one of two men paid $1,000 each to kill Elizabeth Sennett on behalf of her husband, preacher Charles Sennett Sr., who was in debt and wanted to collect life insurance money. John Forrest Parker, the other convicted of the murder, was executed in 2010. Charles Sennett, the victim’s husband and a pastor at Christ Church, committed suicide when the investigation began to focus on him as a possible suspect, according to court documents. Smith, 57, was scheduled to receive a lethal injection at a southern Alabama prison in November, but officials were unable to properly perform the procedure.
Kenneth Eugene Smith is 58 years old.
Alabama attorney general requests new execution date for Kenneth Smith
The Equal Justice Initiative, a legal advocacy group that has worked on death penalty issues, said Alabama has a history of “failed and flawed executions and attempted executions” and that “experimenting with a method never used before is an idea terrible”. “No state in the country has executed a person using nitrogen hypoxia, and Alabama is not in a position to experiment with a completely untested and unused method of executing someone,” said Angie Setzer, senior attorney for the Equal Justice Initiative. Alabama attempted to execute Smith by lethal injection last year, but called off the execution due to problems inserting an IV into his veins. It was the second such case in the state in two months after failing to execute an inmate and the third since 2018. The day after Smith’s aborted execution, Governor Kay Ivey announced a pause on executions to conduct an internal review of lethal injection procedures. The state resumed lethal injections last month.
“It is a farce that Kenneth Smith was able to avoid his death sentence for nearly 35 years after he was convicted of the heinous murder-for-hire of an innocent woman, Elizabeth Sennett,” Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement Friday. Alabama has been working for several years to develop the nitrogen hypoxia execution method, but has revealed little about its plans. The attorney general’s court file did not describe the details of how the execution would take place. Corrections Commissioner John Hamm told reporters last month that the protocol was almost complete. Several Alabama inmates seeking to block their executions by lethal injection, including Smith, have argued that they should be allowed to die from nitrogen hypoxia. Robert Grass, an attorney representing Smith, declined to comment Friday. Sennett was found dead on March 18, 1988 at the home she shared with her husband on Coon Dog Cemetery Road in Colbert County, Alabama. The murder and revelations about who was behind it rocked the small north Alabama community.