Alabama murderer, Kenneth Eugene Smith becomes first inmate in US to be executed with nitrogen gas

January 26th, 2024

After being put to death by nitrogen gas by officials at the Alabama Department of Corrections, Alabama killer Kenneth Smith became the first person in history.

Smith, 58, was put to death at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore on Thursday, January 25. At 8:25 p.m. CT, he passed away from nitrogen hypoxia, as confirmed by the state’s Republican governor, Kay Ivey.

Elizabeth Sennett, 45, was brutally murdered on March 18, 1988, by Kenneth Eugene Smith.

In a written statement, Ms. Ivey said, “After more than 30 years and attempt after attempt to game the system, Mr. Smith has answered for his horrendous crimes.”

“The nitrogen hypoxia procedure, which Mr. Smith had previously sought as an alternative to lethal injection, was used legitimately to carry out the execution. Finally, Mr. Smith received his request, and the case can now be closed.

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“After all these years of dealing with that terrible loss, I pray that Elizabeth Sennett’s family can finally find closure.”

Smith’s wife and boys visited him in prison prior to his execution, and they were present when he was put to death. Hash browns, steak, and eggs were his last supper.

The prisoner’s last remarks, according to media witnesses who witnessed correctional officials execute him, were, “Tonight Alabama causes humanity to take a step backwards… I appreciate your help. I adore you all.

“With love, peace, and light, I’m leaving.”

When the execution began at 7:53 p.m., Smith turned to face his family and wrote, “I love you.” Smith was reportedly seen writhing and shaking by the witnesses. At 8:15 p.m., the curtains closed.

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After the execution, Mike and Chuck Sennett, the sons of Ms. Sennett, spoke to the media.

“Nothing happened here today is going to bring mom back,” Chuck Sennett said from a podium at the correctional facility. “It’s kind of a bittersweet day. We’re not going to be jumping around…We’re glad this day is over.”

He continued his remarks by saying that he’s forgiven all of the men who played a role in his mother’s death.

“Evil deeds have consequences,” Ms Sennett’s son added. “Kenneth Smith made some bad decisions 35 years ago and his debt was paid tonight.”

This was Smith’s second attempt at execution. Officials tried to inject a deadly dose of medication into him in November 2022, but they were unsuccessful in getting two IV lines into his system for four hours. Eventually, because Smith’s execution warrant was about to expire, the authorities gave up.

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It was the third time in a row, at the time, that the state had attempted a lethal injection execution without success. Smith claimed that the event caused him to suffer from both psychological and physical ailments, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

Regarding his second attempt at execution, Smith stated that he preferred nitrogen hypoxia but was concerned about the state’s unproven technique, citing possible side effects such as vomiting, vegetative condition, or excruciating asphyxia.

According to Alabama’s death penalty protocol for nitrogen hypoxia, prisoners are to be put to death with a fitted mask and breathing tube to control gas, slowly depriving them of oxygen.


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