As the clock ticks down to the early hours of tomorrow morning, Kenneth Smith, a Death Row inmate, faces the grim reality of execution.
Two months since our last conversation, Smith, known as ‘Kenny,’ reveals the profound terror he experiences.
However, the impending execution holds an unsettling twist, as Alabama plans to use a new, untested method—’nitrogen hypoxia,’ sparking controversy over its potential cruelty and risks.
The Dreadful Conversation:
In November 2022, after a failed attempt at lethal injection, one of Smith’s would-be executioners suggested that it was a preferable method to gassing.
Ironically, just a week later, the state of Alabama announced its intent to execute Smith using the very method he feared—nitrogen hypoxia.
The controversial technique involves forcing the victim to breathe pure nitrogen until suffocation occurs, claiming to render unconsciousness in seconds and death within 5 to 15 minutes.
Legal Battles and Reckless Methods:
Kenneth Smith’s Legal Challenge:
Smith’s legal team challenges the use of nitrogen hypoxia, arguing that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition of ‘cruel and unusual punishment.’
Despite last-minute appeals, both the U.S. Supreme Court and a lower appeals court decline to block the execution, leaving Smith with a looming uncertainty.
Nitrogen Hypoxia Criticisms:
Opponents denounce the use of nitrogen hypoxia as ‘astonishingly reckless’ and equate it to ‘human experimentation.’
The untested nature of this method, previously used on pigs and banned by veterinarians for most animals, raises concerns about its potential for causing catastrophic mishaps, from violent convulsions to leaving the person in a vegetative state.
The Final Countdown:
With a 30-hour window closing in, Smith awaits his fate in the William C Holman Correctional Facility.
His conviction stems from the 1988 murder of Elizabeth Sennett, orchestrated by her husband and another man.
Despite his admission to participating in the assault, Smith denies intent to murder.
The Bungled Execution:
Recalling his previous scheduled execution on November 17, 2022, Smith describes a horrifying ordeal.
Amid legal appeals, guards prepared him for execution, subjecting him to searing physical pain and mental torture.
Bungling attempts to establish intravenous lines prolonged his suffering for four agonizing hours.
Failed Execution Process:
The execution team, clad in scrubs, struggled to find viable veins, resorting to extreme measures like tilting the gurney to facilitate injection into the neck.
Smith’s descriptions include excruciating pain, failed attempts to insert needles, and an overall chaotic and distressing experience.
Survival Amidst Chaos:
In an unexpected turn, the execution team, unable to complete the process within the allotted time, suddenly shifted demeanor.
Smith, still restrained and terrified, was offered water, prayers, and an unusual assurance about the perceived merits of lethal injection over nitrogen.
Aftermath and Psychological Toll:
Unrevealed Executioners and Psychological Impact:
Details about the identity and qualifications of the execution team remain undisclosed.
Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, Smith highlights the physical and psychological toll, expressing ongoing struggles with depression, nightmares, and traumatic memories.
Revisiting the Nightmare:
On the first anniversary of the botched execution, Smith shares the resurgence of traumatic memories, vividly recalling the guards who were complicit in his suffering.
The psychological aftermath leaves him in a state of shock, disorientation, and profound distress.
As Kenneth Smith faces another impending execution with the untested nitrogen hypoxia, questions surrounding its ethical implications, potential for cruelty, and the uncertainty of its outcomes intensify.
The horrifying experiences of his previous ordeal loom large, underscoring the complexities and controversies within the realm of capital punishment.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn