Iam am all for the death penalty ....public hangings better ...in some arab countries ......the publicy stone people ....or even worse.....once you see someone getting killed it makes you wonder .....not enough executions of criminals i say ........save on money too and laundry .....and bath water....... and cups of tea .....and stuff ........
SCOTUS denies appeal by Kenneth Eugene Smith to halt world's first nitrogen execution and allows Alabama to put him to death by inhaling the gas: Eats final meal of Waffle House steak and eggs
- Kenneth Eugene Smith will be executed tonight in Atmore, Alabama, after SCOTUS denied his desperate final request
- He will become the first person in history to be put to death by nitrogen hypoxia, where a gas mask will suffocate him later tonight
The Supreme Court has rejected Kenneth Eugene Smith's Hail Mary request for a stay in execution, meaning he is set to become the first person in history to be put to death with nitrogen gas.
Smith was scheduled be executed at 6pm tonight at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama, although his death warrant extends to 6am.
The Supreme Court voted 6-3 to allow the execution to proceed, with the three Democrat-appointed Justices, Sonia Sotomayor, Ketanji Brown Jackson, and Elana Kagan dissented the opinion of their conservative colleagues.
Smith had begged for it to be called off, citing his fears that the experimental gassing method will cause excruciating pain or cause him to vomit. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall insisted that the controversial method would be 'painless' for Smith.
As Smith now heads for the execution chamber, his prison pastor John Ewell told DailyMail.com that he is 'really struggling' to come to terms with his fate.
The Supreme Court yesterday denied an application for a stay. He filed another request today as the execution approached, however justices denied his desperate appeal and sent him to the chamber.
One of the primary reasons Alabama has turned to nitrogen gas for Smith's execution has been the widespread struggles American prisons have had in obtaining lethal injection drugs in recent years.
Despite warnings from human rights groups over the use of the method, AG Marshall insisted that Smith's fears are unfounded, a decision ultimately agreed by SCOTUS.
In her dissent, Justice Sotomayor wrote that she felt the execution method was cruel, as Smith will wear a mask that has never been fitted for his face until the moment he is strapped down, and officials won't intervene even if he begins choking on his own vomit.
Smith will also have the chance to say his last words, but he will be forced to speak them through the gas mask before the nitrogen is turned on.
Sotomayor felt Smith was a 'surprising candidate' for the untested method - with his previous scheduled execution in November 2022 called off after painful hours of botched attempts to inject him with an IV line.
She said he has been suffering from PTSD since being released from the execution table, 'reliving those hours strapped to the gurney.'
'Having failed to kill Smith on its first attempt, Alabama has selected him as its 'guinea pig' to test a method of execution never attempted before,' Sotomayor wrote.
'The world is watching.'
Marshall previously argued that nitrogen hypoxia is a 'peaceful' way to end a human life, quoting experts including euthanasia expert Dr. Philip Nitschke.
Nitschke had testified for Smith's legal team, who claimed the risks lay in the gas being administered through a one-size-fits-all gas mask.
However, Marshall said the state's mask has been inspected and is tight enough to ensure no oxygen will leak though, which would keep Smith barely breathing as he is suffocated by the nitrogen gas.
He quoted Nitschke's support of nitrogen hypoxia in assisted suicide as further evidence of how painless the execution will be.
'Among many problems for Smith was his star witness, Dr. Philip Nitschke, who might as well have testified for the State.
'Before joining Smith’s cause, Dr. Nitschke said that critics of Alabama’s method were “misrepresenting the science,"' Marshall wrote.
Dr. Nitschke - who has been referred to colloquially as 'Dr. Death' - said in the past that the method was 'fast', 'effective', 'peaceful' and 'reliable.'
He also dismissed Smith's fears about vomiting into the mask.
'Grasping at straws, Smith quibbled with the way nitrogen will be delivered. First, he said the mask is too loose and will let air inside it. But the State dispelled that concern when it produced the mask.
'Second, Smith said that in the precise few seconds between when gas enters the mask and he loses consciousness, he will vomit and choke to death. But the district court found (twice over) that Smith’s fear was “speculative”, “theoretical,” and “unlikely."
'Smith alleged that he might vomit during the execution because he suffers from nausea.
'On cross-examination, however, Smith’s expert Katherine Porterfield admitted that Smith had not reported any vomiting. '
He added that if Smith vomits into his mask before the gas is administered, the medical team in place will remove it and clean it.
If he vomits into his mask once the gas has been released, they will not intervene.
Smith said that is a 'highly theoretical' scenario based on a 'cascade of unlikely events'.
The execution method split opinions, with some feeling Smith's crime in 1988 was worthy of his place on death row.
Aged 22, Smith was one of two men convicted in the murder-for-hire slaying of Elizabeth Sennett, 45, the wife of preacher Charles Sennet Sr. who paid the men to kill his wife in an insurance plot.
His initial 1989 conviction was overturned on appeal, but he was retried and convicted again in 1996.
Prosecutors said he and John Forrest Parker were each paid $1,000 for the murder, with Sennett's husband hoping to collect on her insurance.
She was found dead March 18 that year in her home in Colbert County with eight stab wounds in the chest and one on each side of her neck.
After finding out that he was suspected of being involved in the plot, Charles Sennett Sr. killed himself.
Smith was originally intended to be executed on November 17, 2022, but his lethal injection was botched.
Smith recalled being in 'great pain' because those tasked with injecting the lethal drugs - midazolam hydrochloride, rocuronium bromide and potassium chloride - were stabbing his muscle rather than finding a vein.
Smith has since said that the ceaseless jabs became so ridiculous they turned into farce, especially when one of the executioners eventually asked Smith to squeeze his hand to make the vein stand out better - a request Smith declined.
Unable to find a second usable vein, Smith's gurney was tilted so that his feet were pointed upwards in what he presumed was an attempt to get blood to his head and leave a vein in his neck more pronounced.
He was left for several minutes before the IV returned with an even larger needle in an attempt to to attach a so-called central line (or central venous catheter) which is much longer than a regular intravenous line and goes all the way up to a vein near or inside the heart.
Smith reported that this pain became so excruciating after multiple attempts to use the larger needle successfully that he was shaking and wet himself.
The planned use of nitrogen gas for the first-time sparked outrage in the weeks leading up to Thursday's planned execution among human rights and prison reform advocates.
Reprieve, an international human rights organization focused on incarceration, told DailyMail.com that Smith's planned execution was a travesty.
'Execution with nitrogen gas is the latest effort to obscure the violence of the state taking a human life,' the organization said.
'Despite almost fifty years of horrific scenes in the execution chamber as prisoners suffer agonizing deaths, proponents of capital punishment cling to the lie that it can be carried out humanely.
'Alabama is once more seeking to hide the reality of what goes on in the execution chamber, switching methods to avoid having to answer questions about what went wrong last time, and now proposes to use a method that has been rejected by veterinarians as a way to kill animals.
'Witnesses will not be able to tell how much Kenneth Smith is suffering as the nitrogen kills him: like the lethal injection protocol before it, the nitrogen protocol is specifically designed to hide pain.
'The state of Alabama has tortured Mr. Smith once, stabbing him with needles for hours, and by using him as a guinea pig for a dangerous, untested new method of execution, it is torturing him again.'