SCOTUS Officially Approves Alabama’s Request To Carry Out First Execution By Nitrogen Gas

B| British National Faces Execution In Georgia
402222 03: (FILE PHOTO) This undated photo shows the death chamber at the Georgia Diagnostic Prison in Jackson, GA. British national Tracy Housel is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection March 12 at the prison. Housel, who was born in Bermuda and holds US and British citizenship, was given the death penalty for the 1985 murder of a female hitchiker in Gwinnett County. Despite pleas by members of the British government, state officials have refused to commute his sentence. (Photo by Georgia Department of Corrections/Getty Images) F| (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP, File)
B| (Photo by Georgia Department of Corrections/Getty Images) F| (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP, File)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
11:56 AM – Thursday, January 25, 2024

The Supreme Court has officially allowed the state of Alabama to carry out the first-ever nitrogen gas execution on prisoner Kenneth Smith.


On Wednesday, the Supreme Court approved Alabama’s request to execute Smith, 58, with nitrogen on Thursday, January 25th.

Attorneys representing Smith had requested that the court consider whether Smith’s execution would violate the Constitution, since this is the state’s second attempt at carrying out the death penalty due to the first one having “gone wrong” for reasons that the state “should have known about,” lawyers said.

Two juries found Smith guilty on two separate occasions of killing Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett in 1988 in Colbert County, Alabama, in a murder-for-pay plot. Smith was 22-years-old when he committed the crime.

Sennett, a pastor’s wife, suffered repeated beatings and stabbings after her husband had hired Smith and two others to kill her for $1,000 each.

Smith admitted to his involvement in the murder and has since been detained on death row since 1996.

The state says that the nitrogen gas will make the victim unconscious very quickly, but opponents of the method have compared this never-before-used execution style to unsound experiments on humans.

Smith previously contested the state’s choice to have him executed via lethal injection, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state last year. However, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decided not to revisit the decision of a lower court that upheld Smith’s right to die via fatal gas injection rather than injection.

Smith is scheduled to be executed on Thursday by nitrogen hypoxia, which makes him the first to be executed by lethal injection since it was initially introduced in 1982.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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