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    Death Penalty by Nitrogen Gas is Carried Out in Alabama for the First Time

    For the first time in America, the state of Alabama has taken steps to execute a death sentence using nitrogen gas.

    It was for the 58-year-old Kenneth Smith, who was convicted of murder before the court.

    Murdered Elizabeth and Pastor Charles Sennett

    Smith was one of three convicted in the 1988 murder of Elizabeth Sennett. The trio had been hired by Elizabeth’s husband, a pastor, Charles Sennett, to kill her.

    Kenneth and the other assassins were paid $1,000 each to kill Elizabeth because the deeply indebted pastor wanted to collect the insurance money.

    According to court documents, her husband, Charles Sennett, killed himself when investigators eyed him as a suspect in the investigation.

    Kenneth’s execution began at 7:53 p.m. He died at 8:25 p.m. local time, state prison commissioner John Ham said.

    The US Supreme Court had allowed the unexamined death penalty to go ahead, despite the objections of its three liberal justices and strong opposition from death penalty opponents. Even the judges had objected to this saying that it could result in a more gruesome death than other capital punishments.

    5 journalists were given the opportunity to witness this execution.

    Strapped to a trolley-like bed, Smith was fitted with a full head mask. The report of the journalists stated that after the nitrogen gas started flowing into the mask, he was conscious for a few minutes until the oxygen was reduced.

    Smith, however, was then ‘squirming and shaking’ for at least two minutes before he breathed heavily for several minutes.

    State attorneys had previously stated in court filings that nitrogen execution would almost certainly result in ‘seconds of unconsciousness’.

    In the end, the journalists said that his breathing gradually slowed until the struggle was no longer noticeable.

    Smith appeared to be trying to hold his breath for as long as he could and Smith’s body movements slowed to a gradual death, they said.

    Another reporter who witnessed the execution said Smith’s head jerked violently within minutes of the nitrogen injection.

    Before being executed, Smith gave a lengthy closing statement from the death chamber.

    “Tonight, Alabama took a step back for humanity,” he concluded, according to eyewitnesses.

    Analysts are of the view that this has opened a new frontier in how the country executes its death row prisoners.

    ‘This is the fifth execution I have seen in Alabama. “I have never seen such a violent reaction in executions,” said one of the eyewitnesses.

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