Alabama Attorney General Defends Use of Nitrogen Hypoxia in Executions Despite Witnessed Agony

Alabama Attorney General Defends Use of Nitrogen Hypoxia in Executions Despite Witnessed Agony

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall Defiant in Continuing Nitrogen Hypoxia Executions

In the wake of harrowing reports surrounding Kenneth Eugene Smith’s execution, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall remains steadfast in his commitment to using the controversial nitrogen hypoxia method.

Marshall even offered assistance to other states interested in adopting the previously-untested execution method, downplaying accounts of Smith’s prolonged and agonizing 22-minute ordeal on Thursday night.

Witness Descriptions Contrast Official Statements: Nitrogen Hypoxia Under Scrutiny

Contrary to Marshall’s assertion that Smith’s execution was “textbook,” witnesses, including Smith’s spiritual advisor Jeff Hood, described a disturbing scene of convulsions, repeated popping up on the gurney, and violent shaking.

The use of nitrogen hypoxia has ignited a nationwide debate on the ethics of executions, providing an alternative for states facing a shortage of lethal injection drugs.

Alabama’s Response: Nitrogen Hypoxia Deemed Proven and Humane

Attorney General Marshall defended the use of nitrogen gas, asserting that it is no longer an untested method but a proven one.

Officials argued that nitrogen hypoxia ensures a humane and painless execution, citing the need to continue executions amid challenges in obtaining lethal injection drugs.

Marshall highlighted the readiness of 43 Alabama death row inmates to choose nitrogen hypoxia over lethal injection.

Execution Reality Contradicts Assurances: Witnesses Detail Violent Scene

Reports from journalist Lee Hedgepeth, one of the witnesses, contradicted Marshall’s statements, describing Smith’s violent shaking and thrashing during the execution.

Hedgepeth emphasized that this was the most violent execution he had witnessed, raising questions about the accuracy of official assurances regarding the painless nature of nitrogen hypoxia.

Smith’s Final Moments: Struggles, Refusals, and Controversial Last Meal

Leading up to the execution, Smith’s pastor John Ewell noted the killer’s struggle with the impending death.

Smith’s final day included refusals of meals, clear liquids only from 4 pm, and a controversial last meal from Waffle House.

The day was marked by emotional phone calls, including one with his wife, Deanna Smith, who had witnessed her husband’s botched execution two years earlier.

Crime, Retrial, and Execution Controversy: Smith’s Background and Alabama’s Response

Kenneth Eugene Smith, convicted in the murder-for-hire slaying of Elizabeth Sennett in 1988, faced controversy throughout his legal battles.

Despite an overturned 1989 conviction, Smith was retried and sentenced to death in 1996. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey praised the execution, emphasizing justice served for Sennett’s murder after more than 30 years.

Governor Ivey’s Statement: Closure for Sennett’s Family After Decades of Loss

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, in a statement, expressed satisfaction with Smith’s execution, hoping for closure for Elizabeth Sennett’s family after enduring over 30 years of loss.

The controversial use of nitrogen hypoxia continues to stir ethical debates around capital punishment in the United States.**

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