The methods of executing prisoners sentenced to death have evolved greatly from the Middle Ages to the present day. From beatings, beheadings, burning at the stake, stoning, hanging, executions, the gas chamber (still in force in some US states) or the Electric chair, he switched to more “humane” methods. The lethal injection is the most common method in UNITED STATES. It was first used in 1977 after being presented by doctor Jay Chapman as a less painful option for the sentenced person and more humane than usual practices.
What is a lethal injection?
Lethal anesthesia usually contains three substances: sodium thiopental, which has a sedative effect; pancuronium bromide, which paralyzes the muscles of the respiratory system; and potassium chloride, which induces cardiac arrest. In some states, such as Texas, an injection of a single substance, pentobarbital, used in animal sacrifices, has been used. Medical experts and human rights organizations have reportedly repeatedly denounced that lethal injection is no less painful and inhumane “Los Angeles Times”.
Now the state of Alabama is seriously considering becoming the first state to execute a prisoner by inhaling pure nitrogen. The Alabama Attorney General asked the state Supreme Court last Friday to set an execution date for the death row inmate. Kenneth Eugene Smith, 58 years old. That was evident from the court documents Alabama plans to execute him by nitrogen hypoxia, a three-state legal execution method, but that has never been used.
Nitrogen hypoxia would occur by forcing the occupant to breathe only nitrogen, depriving them of oxygen and causing their death. Nitrogen makes up 78 percent of the air we breathe and is harmless when inhaled with oxygen. Although proponents of the new method have theorized that it is painless, opponents have compared it to human experiments.
Alabama approved nitrogen hypoxia in 2018 There is a shortage of drugs used to carry out lethal injections, but the state has not yet attempted to use them to carry out a death sentence. Oklahoma and Mississippi have also permitted nitrogen hypoxia but have not used it.
The petition has caused a great deal of excitement and it is expected that a tough legal battle will begin over whether or not the process is constitutional.
The initiative for equal justice, a legal advocacy group that has dealt with issues of Death penalty, said Alabama has a history of “failed and failed executions and attempted executions” and “Experimenting with a method that has never been used before is a terrible idea”.
“No state in the country has ever executed a person by nitrogen hypoxia, and Alabama has no capacity to experiment with any method that has not yet been tested or used to execute a person,” he said. Angie Setzer, Lead Advocate for the Equal Justice Initiative.
Smith’s stay of execution in November 2022 marked the third consecutive time that the Alabama Department of Corrections’ execution team had difficulty getting to inmates’ veins during lethal injection. The previous two were Joe Natham James Jr.. in July 2022, which lasted three hours, and the failed execution of Alan Eugene Miller in September, which was canceled after about 90 minutes of attempts to set up the IV. When it came to carrying out Smith’s sentence, Gov. Kay Ivey called for a pause in executions to review the process from the top down. This review was completed in February and paved the way for executions to resume.
Smith was one of two men convicted of the 1988 contract killing of a preacher’s wife. The Alabama Attorney General argued that it was time to carry out the death sentence. “Is a Farce that Kenneth Smith escaped his death sentence for almost 35 years after being found guilty of the heinous contract killing of an innocent woman, Elizabeth Sennett,” attorney Steve Marshall said in a statement on Friday.
Alabama has been working on the nitrogen hypoxia execution method for several years, but little is known about the results. The Attorney General’s report gives no details on how the execution would take place. Correctional Commissioner John Hamm told reporters last month that the protocol was almost complete.
Sennett She was found dead on March 18. 1988 in the house where she lived with her husband Coon Dog Cemetery Road in Colbert County, Alabama. Prosecutors said Smith was one of two men who paid $1,000 to kill Sennett on behalf of her husband, who wanted life insurance to pay off his numerous debts.
The murder and the motives behind the case shocked the small community in northern Alabama. The other man was convicted of murder he was executed in 2010.Charles Sennett, Husband of the victim and minister of the Church of Christ, committed suicide when investigators began to suspect himaccording to court documents.
But Smith opposes the execution and it was he who asked for the method of execution to be changed due to an alleged fear of needles. This led to the approval of the use of nitrogen in 2018. The defendant managed to avoid death for 35 years, and authorities believe that demanding a change in the way he dies is another of his death-avoidance strategies. But it seems the governor is aware of this and wants me to be the first person to die from nitrogen hypoxia.