Death Row Inmate Wins Supreme Court Support for Execution by Nitrogen Gas

Kenneth Smith, who was sentenced to death in 1988, says lethal injection is cruel.


The Supreme Court has sided with an Alabama death row inmate who wants to die by nitrogen gas instead of lethal injection.

Kennth Smith has already been in the death chamber once but the execution was called off.

CNN reports that state officials had argued that a lower court contravened Supreme Court precedent that requires an inmate to demonstrate that an alternate method is feasible and readily implemented.

The high court declined to intervene in the case on Monday.

Smith was sentenced to death for murdering Elizabeth Sennett in 1988.  He claimed lethal injection was cruel because of the pain it would cause.

Smith spent four hour strapped to a gurney in November during a planned execution that was called off.

Prison officials ran out of time trying to properly set up an IV line before the order of execution expired.

Smith said that being forced to face lethal injection again would be cruel.

The jury in the murder trial voted 11-1 that Smith should be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. But the trial judge overrode the jury’s verdict and imposed the death penalty, according to the Equal Justice Initiative.

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