US inmate faces first nitrogen execution

This undated photo provided by Alabama Department of Corrections shows inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith, who was convicted in a 1988 murder-for-hire slaying of a preacher’s wife. The Alabama attorney general’s office on Friday, Aug. 25, 2023 asked the state Supreme Court to set an execution date for death row inmate Kenneth Smith. Alabama plans to put him to death by nitrogen hypoxia, an execution method that is authorized in three states but has never been used.(Alabama Department of Corrections via AP).
An Alabama death row inmate is hours away from undergoing the first US execution by nitrogen gas after losing last-minute appeals. The US Supreme Court and a lower appeals court have declined to block what Kenneth Eugene Smith’s lawyers called a cruel and unusual punishment. Nitrogen is to be pumped into his body through a mask for up to 15 minutes. Smith, 58, was convicted in 1989 of murdering a preacher’s wife, Elizabeth Sennett, in a killing-for-hire.

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