Experimental Execution Draws Controversy

(TargetDailyNews.com) – Convicted murderer-for-hire Kenneth Smith, 58, was put to death for the murder of 45-year-old Elizabeth Sennett on January 25th. Smith was paid $1,000 for the deed by her husband, Charles Sennett. He had intended to collect her life insurance after her death.

Smith had finally paid for his crimes, according to a statement from Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey. She called his deed “horrendous” and suggested Smith had repeatedly attempted to “game the system.” Smith was convicted of murder in 1988 and had been awaiting execution since.

Despite the execution being considered “textbook” by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, some are criticizing the experimental method used to kill Smith as inhumane. Smith was the first person in Alabama to die from nitrogen hypoxia or nitrogen gas. Marshall suggested the method was no longer experimental after Smith’s demise.

Reverend Jeff Hood acted as a religious advisor to Smith and said that the execution took 22 minutes from start to finish and said he observed Smith struggling to breathe the entire time. He said that Smith convulsed, gasped, and appeared to heave multiple times. Hood described the method as “unbelievable evil.”

Alabama state authorities suggested the experimental method would put the individual into a state of unconsciousness within seconds and death would soon follow. Witnesses reported that Smith appeared conscious for several minutes and described him as shuddering and shaking while he was strapped down on a gurney.

Smith’s 11th-hour appeal was denied by the Supreme Court with a lone dissent from Justice Sonya Sotomayor, who suggested Smith was a guinea pig. Smith agreed to the procedure, his other options in Alabama were lethal injection or the electric chair. It’s unclear if Smith was given an accurate representation of how his death would proceed before electing the procedure, however.

Marshall said that 43 more death row convicts have opted for death by nitrogen gas so the protocol will continue to be used for now.

Mike Sennett, Elizabeth’s son, said that justice was served and that his mother isn’t coming back regardless.

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