Alabama Plans First Nitrogen Gas Execution

Alabama is preparing to use a new method of execution for those receiving the death penalty with nitrogen gas.

Inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith is set to be put to death this coming Thursday by nitrogen hypoxia, the first new method of execution since lethal injection was introduced in 1982.

The state of Alabama claims nitrogen gas will cause unconsciousness quickly, depriving an individual of oxygen relatively quickly.

Alabama became the third state, along with Oklahoma and Mississippi, to authorize the use of nitrogen gas to execute prisoners in 2018.

The nitrogen gas will allegedly be administered for at least 15 minutes or “five minutes following a flatline indication on the EKG, whichever is longer,” according to the state protocol.

The Alabama attorney general’s office told a federal judge that the nitrogen gas will “cause unconsciousness within seconds, and cause death within minutes.”

Smith’s attorneys say the state is seeking to make him the “test subject” for the new execution method.

Smith was reportedly one of two men convicted of a murder-for-hire plot of a preacher’s wife, where he was paid $1,000 to kill Elizabeth Sennett on behalf of her husband, who was in debt and wanted to collect insurance money.

The prisoner has argued that the state’s proposed procedures violate the ban on cruel and unusual punishment and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments last week in Smith’s request to block the execution.