Alabama’s Attorney General has requested the state’s supreme court to allow the first-ever execution through nitrogen hypoxia for convicted murderer, Kenneth Eugene Smith.
Driving the news: Steve Marshall, the Attorney General, requested a date for Smith’s execution, potentially to be carried out using nitrogen hypoxia.
* Smith was initially scheduled for execution via lethal injection on Nov. 17, 2022, but he objected to this method and proposed nitrogen hypoxia instead.
* After issues with the lethal injection, the Supreme Court ruled in May that Smith’s execution could proceed using nitrogen hypoxia.
New execution method: Nitrogen hypoxia involves forcing the person to breathe pure nitrogen until death.
* It is a largely untested method, and Alabama would be the first state to use it for an execution, though Oklahoma and Mississippi have approved it.
* There are concerns about the method, including lack of information on aspects such as nitrogen gas administration, its dosages, and safety measures for the execution team.
Case background: Smith was convicted for involvement in a murder-for-hire scheme in 1988.
* A pastor hired Smith, among others, to kill his wife for insurance money.
* Smith was first convicted and sentenced to death in 1989, had his sentence appealed in 1992, then was again found guilty in a 1996 trial, after which he was sentenced to life in prison without parole, but a judge overruled the jury’s decision and gave him the death penalty.
Current state of lethal injections in Alabama: The state had suspended lethal injections after the failed attempt on Smith in 2022, but resumed them in July.
* This marked the third failed lethal injection attempt in Alabama since 2018.
This summary was created by an AI system. The use of this summary is subject to our Terms of Service.