Alabama cleared to become first state to execute inmate with nitrogen gas: court

20:48, Friday, 03 November, 2023
Alabama cleared to become first state to execute inmate with nitrogen gas: court

A divided Alabama Supreme Court said the state can execute an inmate with nitrogen gas, a method that has not previously been used carry out a death sentence, Fox News reports.
     The all-Republican court made its 6-2 decision without comment on Wednesday. The justices granted the state attorney general's request for an execution warrant for Kenneth Eugene Smith, one of two men convicted in the 1988 murder-for-hire slaying of Elizabeth Sennett in northwestern Alabama.
     The order did not specify the execution method, but the attorney general indicated in court filings that it intends to use nitrogen to put Smith to death. The exact date of the execution will be set later by Gov. Kay Ivey. The decision moves Alabama closer to becoming the first state to attempt an execution by nitrogen gas, although there will likely be additional legal wrangling over the proposed method before it's used.
     Oklahoma and Mississippi have also authorized nitrogen hypoxia for executions, in which an inmate would breathe only nitrogen and be deprived of oxygen needed live. While proponents have theorized it would be painless, opponents liken it to human experimentation. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced the court's decision Wednesday night, saying the ruling had “cleared the way” for execution by nitrogen hypoxia after Sennett’s family “waited an unconscionable 35 years to see justice served.”

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