A convicted assassin is given the unenviable honor of becoming the first American to be executed using a new method. This after an earlier attempt last year failed.
Kenneth Eugene Smith was convicted for the first time in 1988 for the murder of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennet. Together with an accomplice, he was hired by Sennet’s husband, who not only had an affair, but also had taken out a large life insurance policy for his wife.
A new trial followed in 1996 and another conviction followed. Although the twelve-member jury voted eleven to one in favor of a life sentence, the judge still imposed the death penalty.
Smith had already been on death row for 34 years when the first execution attempt was made in November last year. The plan was to give him a lethal injection, but the nurses were unable to find a vein. After several hours of unsuccessfully administering the injection to him correctly, the execution was stopped.
A new attempt will be made on January 25 or 26 of next year, but this time not with a lethal injection. Smith, now 57, will become the first American to be executed by ‘nitrogen hypoxia’, according to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey.
READ ALSO. A third of executions in the United States are not by the book
Nitrogen hypoxia deprives the brain and body of oxygen, causing the condemned to die of asphyxiation, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit organization that monitors, analyzes and disseminates information about the death penalty.
Although the date has already been set, Smith’s attorneys continue to oppose the death penalty. “We want our client’s rights to be respected,” it said. “Like the 11 jurors who did not believe he should be executed, we remain hopeful that those reviewing this case will recognize that a second attempt at execution – this time using an experimental, never-before-used method – is unwarranted and unjust.”